12 January 2009
As the “Alabang Boys” telenovela continues to unravel, we begin to see the flaws within our justice system. This ongoing fracas between two government agencies seems to confirm what most of us fear about the Department of Justice. For as long as you are rich, connected and power drunk, you can shop for the kind of justice you want.
This tip in the scales of justice and the disjoint between PDEA and the DOJ would have escaped finer scrutiny were it not for media attention on the impending release of the so-called “Alabang Boys” and subsequent House hearings. We would never have heard of an appalling act - the counsel for the accused composing a release order on official DOJ letterhead and delivering to the DOJ Secretary for approval.
Worse, the lawyer, who we believe deserves disbarment for his “overzealousness”, had the audacity to say that he just “borrowed the stationary and returned it to the DOJ” (he saw the stationary lying around, he typed up the letter on it, then “returned” it via Sec. Gonzalez) as seen and heard on ANC’s “IMO” last night. Amazing. Even more appalling was Sec. Gonzalez’s tepid reaction to this act of thievery. This only validates our suspicion that this is common practice.
How can we not esteem the men and women of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency when compared to the members of the DOJ? Major Ferdinand Marcelino is fiercely dedicated to his mission – to free this country from the consuming and destructive stranglehold of illegal drugs. Through the House hearings, we learned that he spearheaded the weeding out of bribed members of their task forces. We admire that kind of “tough love”.
The Black and White Movement expresses its unequivocal support for incorruptible people like Major Marcelino and enjoins every decent Filipino to do the same. That is the least we can do for him, General Dionisio Santiago and their associates within PDEA.
We are not surprised that the public has taken the side of PDEA in this issue. In their eyes, and ours, too many of our people have received unequal justice from the DOJ, too many associated with the present and past dispensations have gone on to escape the courts, and no one believes that justice cannot be bought in the Philippines.
Finally, a comment on the ongoing “silent protest” at the DOJ and its prosecutors going on leave - the wearing of red armbands to disprove unequal dispensation of justice doesn’t mean it never happens. A stunt like this is about as believable as GMA linking arms and strolling with her cabinet members to prove her administration is above reproach.
DOJ prosecutors going on leave won’t change the low opinion of many. That’s about as productive as shuffling Romy Neri around different government agencies. As a major part of government, the DOJ should be falling all over itself, investigating alleged bribe takers, expelling and charging them, healing the pathology that thrives within.
But, wait! Can the DOJ investigate itself? Its current silent protest means that the DOJ believes it is infallible. What else can you expect from this administration? -- END