Volume XVII NO 30 (May 17-23, 2014)
Obstruction of justice in pork row
LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…`I will make mere youths their officials; children will rule over them… Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path’… (Isaiah 3:4, 12, the Holy Bible).
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN PORK ROW: The facts, gathered from media reports: as early May 2013, the digital files of Benhur Luy containing the names of 25 senators (15 incumbent and 10 no longer active), and 100 or so congressmen, and the other public officials alleged to have participated in the P10 billion pork barrel scam had already been submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and presumably even to President Aquino.
Then, the same digital files were also submitted to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, in the course of the preliminary investigation of the scam. However, for reasons known only to them, it would appear that the NBI, the DOJ, President Aquino, and the Ombudsman chose to focus their attention only on three senators and around five congressmen in their proceedings, totally preventing the prosecution of the other senators and congressmen named therein.
Now, here is the law: Presidential Decree 1829, or the act “Penalizing the Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders”, Section 1 of which says: “The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases…”
WHY WERE OTHER SENATORS NOT PROSECUTED? Prision correccional is a penalty of imprisonment which, under the Revised Penal Code, carries a maximum detention of 12 years. In addition, PD 1829, a decree issued by then former President Marcos in 1981, also imposes this punishment: “If any of the foregoing acts is committed by a public official or employee, he shall in addition to the penalties provided thereunder, suffer perpetual disqualification from holding public office…”
Specifically, Section 1 (b) of PD 1829 defines “obstruction justice” this way: “… altering, destroying, suppressing or concealing any paper, record, document, or object, with intent to impair its verity, authenticity, legibility, availability, or admissibility as evidence in any investigation of or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or to be used in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases…”
I am bringing these matters out here, so the people can judge by themselves: was there an obstruction of justice by the President, Secretary De Lima, by the NBI and by Ombudsman Morales, in not prosecuting the 22 other senators and 100 or so other congressmen who were named in the Benhur Luy files which, it appears now, was part of the evidence submitted in the P10 billion pork barrel scam as early as 2013?
BETRAYAL OF PUBLIC TRUST? And, does this not constitute “betrayal of public trust” on the part of President Aquino under the 1987 Constitution—the so-called Cory Aquino Constitution because it was enacted during the presidency of his own mother? I mean, if the present President Aquino had been in possession of the Benhur Luy files as early as 2013 but chose to remain silent about it, did he not violate his duty to prosecute crimes or expose them at the very least?
2016 IS ROOT OF PORK PROBE: This is the reason why I cannot blame Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. when they say that their indictment by the Ombudsman for the P10 billion scam was politically motivated. After all, if the entire Aquino government, conspiring with the Ombudsman, chose to prosecute only the three of them, ignoring all the rest who are Aquino’s allies, politics should be behind this.
The only evident intent here, really, is to decapitate, as it were, Enrile, Jinggoy, and Revilla from mounting a serious challenge to the presidential candidate of Aquino in 2016. Obviously, all these brouhaha about the pork barrel scam was meant as a political ploy to ensure the election of Aquino’s candidate, so he can be assured that the fate of two former presidents—being jailed after their terms—will not happen to him.
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