Gone is the rule of law

I just received word that the Ombudsman, in less than one month, dismissed my motion for reconsideration in the graft complaint I filed against Senate President Franklin Drilon and several other respondents in connection with the Iloilo Convention Center project anomalies.

The Ombudsman has shown once again its unrivaled speed and efficiency in resolving cases (lopsidedly when it comes to close allies of the President). I filed the motion for reconsideration on June 4, 2015 (by registered mail). The resolution denying it was signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on July 9, 2015.
This was not unexpected. When the Ombudsman dismissed my complaint in record time of five months last May, I knew that forces outside the law were at work here. This is an agency that takes five years, on the average, in resolving simple graft cases. Several complaints I have filed against Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog have languished in the central office on review for more than two years (and that’s just REVIEW).
The Ombudsman swept aside the truth, especially on the point that the fund disbursements for the ICC from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) were illegal and constituted malversation of public funds. The DAP funds for the ICC were disbursed through DPWH even if there was no line item budget for the project in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 General Appropriations Act (GAA). The Ombudsman mocked at the decision of the Supreme Court on the DAP cases when it ruled that those funds allocated to projects NOT INCLUDED IN THE GAA AS LINE ITEMS ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND ILLEGAL. It is so brazen that one wonders where the rule of law has been buried.
This is a concrete illustration of selective justice. The evidence was ignored to favor the respondents, especially Senate President Drilon. I must accept defeat in the face of this herculean conspiracy to bury the truth. I am powerless against them. I have no resources to carry the battle to the higher courts.
I guess this will have to be resolved at a later time when the rule of law is fully restored in our country, and the principle of accountability is strengthened. The Ombudsman is making a huge travesty of the anti-corruption efforts. It is undermining its own mandate.
With my head unbowed, I say, I have fought the good fight.

Vigilante justice

The savagery in the manner he was killed was almost a copycat of the way murder victims attributed to his gang was carried out: multiple wounds against a defenseless target. Emmanuel Roquero was shot no less than 23 times with his hands handcuffed in a dark portion near the old airport site in Mandurriao, Iloilo Cityseveral nights ago in what is widely believed to be the handiwork of a vigilante group.

Apparently, Roquero’s murder was intended to deliver a strong message — violent serial crimes will not be regarded kindly with kids’ gloves. For so long, the TBS 13 (which stands for True Brown Style), killed taxi drivers with impunity. This time, the rule of law will have to give way to vigilante justice, or so the killers of Roquero seemed to be saying.

What is frightening is that the brutal killing of Roquero received a thunderous applause from the public. The “it serves him right” mentality seems to have pervaded over the city. So many felt it was a justified action in the face of the seeming helplessness of the pollice in putting a stop to the spate of taxi murders blamed upon the TBS gang. This kind of public reaction might encourage whoever was responsible to do it again.

We have to warn the community that vigilante justice might seem attractive in the short term. People want revenge, and this is what vigilantes serve upon perceived criminals. But we have to remember we live under a rule of law. There are basic rights that were trampled upon. Killing a murder suspect can never be right. A crime to stop a criminal is wrong. There is real danger this will trigger a vicious cycle of violence. Certain groups will feel tempted to abrogate the role of crime-busters and target individuals labeled as criminals. Who will guarantee that innocent people will not fall victim to the vigilantes? Do we really want the city to be littered with dead bodies?