Is Sec. Raul Gonzalez laying the basis for a DoJ whitewash?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-01-13

The actuations and pronouncements of Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Raul Gonzalez during and after the January 7 Congress hearing on the alleged “Alabang Boys” bribery case are disturbing, to say the least.

Gonzalez reminded the Congressional panel not to presume lack of good faith on the part of the prosecutors despite whatever oddities and irregularities have been found in the hasty resolution to dismiss the case and release the three suspects, namely Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph and Joseph Tecson.

In the January 6 Congress hearing, the irregularities were already clearly established in the resolution penned, with god-awful grammar and all, by prosecutor John Resado.

Legal luminaries Edwin Lacierda and Raul Pangalangan of the FEU and UP Law Schools, respectively, shared the views of the Congressmen that the prosecutors erred in dismissing the case.

Several congressmen felt that Resado went beyond the limits of his job and rendered the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) agents in peril of counter charges. Rep. Roy Golez even considered the possibility that the resolution was virtually lifted from the pleadings of the defendants’ lawyer while totally disregarding the side of the PDEA.

Most glaring was Resado’s conclusion that the buy-bust operation was illegal, even saying that a lone operative conducted it. These were clearly debunked in the January 6 hearing.

Assuming good faith as Gonzalez suggested is valid if no irregularities have already been established. But public accountability dictates that once basis for the assumption of irregularity has been established, then a suspected public official must be subjected to full scrutiny and inquisition.

Then Gonzalez committed an irregularity by questioning PDEA’s Major Ferdinand Marcelino as if Maj. Marcelino was the problem instead of the prosecutors. As a resource person, Gonzalez has no business questioning other resource persons in the hearing.

Why should Gonzalez exert pressure on Maj. Marcelino when it is his prosecutors and his undersecretary, Ricardo Blancaflor, who were under the cloud of suspicion? Can Gonzalez now blame people from thinking that he may be part of the problem for appearing to attempt to cover the tracks of his prosecutors and the mysterious involvement of his undersecretary?

Gonzalez appeared to be discrediting the reputedly honest Marine major. In contrast, other Congressmen and a Senator (Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, a former military chief of staff) recommended Maj. Marcelino for a well-deserved commendation.

Several Congressmen wondered why Gonzalez did not berate instead the defendants’ lawyer, Atty. Felisberto Verano, for writing that release resolution in a DoJ letterhead for Gonzalez to sign. Indeed, why is Gonzalez soft on those who are under a cloud of suspicion and belligerent towards a soldier who just wanted to do what is right?

Gonzalez painted the Congressmen as “biased” against the prosecutors. But how do you remain neutral when the conflict that is presented to you resonates as the truth on one side and the lie on the other? Won’t a moral person be forced to champion the truth? How else can the Congressmen proceed if not to focus and get to the bottom of the lie?

Gonzalez was quoted: “The problem with some of the congressmen is that they were biased already from the very start. Even the grammar of the supposed resolution, they were attacking it,” he added.

Is it not odd for a veteran lawyer like Gonzalez to downplay the importance of language in law practice when in fact many legal battles were won and lost depending on the capable or incapable interpretation of the language of the law? Indeed, Gonzalez is justified to fire prosecutor John Resado for lacking the skills to write a case resolution.

The Good Book said that no man can be blinder than the man who refuses to see.
Taken in perspective, this Chair Wrecker is not surprised at all that Raul Gonzalez reacted the way he did. Have we not seen worse pronouncements from him?

How come he now talks about good faith as a presumption in the actions of people? If the DoJ Secretary and his prosecutors presumed good faith in the writings of the 27 journalists whom First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo sued for libel — including this Chair Wrecker — then how come all those libel cases were elevated by the DoJ to trial?

Libel is the hardest case to prove and prosecute and yet 27 journalists went to trial. This Chair Wrecker was exonerated by the Manila Regional Trial Court for that libel case. The libel cases against 26 other journalists were eventually withdrawn by Mike Arroyo. Those are 27 black eyes for Gonzalez and his DoJ.

Compared to the 27 libel cases against the journalists, the PDEA case against the “Alabang Boys” provided more damning evidence.
Already rumblings from the Marines were registered. Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino had to caution the Marines to stay away from politics and focus on their main mission. The issue is not political but the fallout will be and even Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo must have sensed this which is why she ordered Gonzalez to resolve it soonest.

Have you noticed how many of the headline grabbers in the Opposition are silent on this bribery issue? They must be silently wishing for a whitewash and then they will capitalize on the fallout.

Napoleon said it best — do not interrupt your opponent while he is making a mistake.

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