Who set the drug convicts free in 1995?


I didn’t get to watch the entirety of yesterdays Senate inquiry into the killing of Kian de los Santos, but I read that Senator Franklin Drilon insinuated that Caloocan City Assistant City Prosecutor Darwin Cañete was involved in illegal drugs.
That was a below-the-belt blow that only a bully wearing the title “Senator” can deliver.
Perhaps it’s time the Senate also dug deep into the circumstances into the wholesale release from the National Bilibid Prisons of several dozens of drug convicts in the middle of 1995 by virtue of a writ of habeas corpus issued by a Muntinlupa City regional trial court judge.
There are many questions about the legality of that writ. For one thing, the petitions were filed in groups of tens or twenties, not individually. Second, they were already convicted, and the proper remedy to avail of the lower prison terms under the amended drug law wasn’t a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Third, the judge who issued the writs had been investigated and sanctioned in the past for ignorance of the law and inappropriate behavior.
Now, we should be enlightened.
Who was the justice secretary in the preceding months of June 1995 when the writ was issued that then set nearly a hundred drug convicts free?
The petitions were filed six to eight months before the elections of 1995. Surely, the Department of Justice was aware of it, but didn’t object. In fact, the DOJ most likely facilitated the petitions because these were granted without delay.
This singular act of freeing drug convicts set in motion the establishment of a nationwide distribution network for illegal drugs.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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