He is not your friend.
So screamed Shane Mosley’s fans as he backpedaled and tapped gloves with Pacquiao over 12 rounds. They wanted him to battle Manny.
She is not your friend.
So should we have screamed at Presidential Spokesperson Lacierda as he publicly thanked Merci Gutierrez for resigning and sparing the nation the ordeal of a trial. He fell short of offering her a gold watch for her years of service and the promise to be buried at the Libingan.
Gutierrez is the same person who only a week prior had been Public Nuisance Number One. She is the same person who saddled us with the lopsided plea bargain with AFP Comptroller Garcia and reinstated Customs Officer Yuchongco. God knows how many other quickie deals were machinated before she left.
Lacierda forgot to acknowledge these in his statement of appreciation.
Let me just say something if not obvious: Gutierrez resigned not to save the nation but to save herself.
As for Garcia, he got off with the bargain of the century: After allegedly stealing over P300 million, he was asked to return P135 million in (almost certainly inflated) assets in exchange for acquittal. Keep the change he was told.
Lacierda has still to thank Garcia for sparing us the agony of a trial.
There is something profoundly wrong when the worst punishment for dishonest officials is a measure of thanks upon their resignation. No wonder corruption is a sunrise industry. There is no downside to it.
There is also the matter of the Sandiganbayan. Just when we thought we had the all- clear with the resignation of the Ombudsman, we now realize the ordeal is not over.
The Sandiganbayan is the court that decides cases against public officials. The Ombudsman, through the Office of Special Prosecutors, files the charges; the Sandiganbayan rules on the charges. Even if the OSPs are on the up and up, justice can be stalled or reversed at the level of the Sandiganbayan.
The Garcia plea bargain is a case in point. Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval and Assc. Justices Teresita Diaz-Baldoz and Samuel Martires approved the Garcia deal against public opinion and the wishes of the Administration: “ We would rather tell the truth and be unpopular than be a superstar because we satisfied public opinion by creating half truths and distortions.”
How kind of them to sermon us on the virtues of morality and Godliness.
The timing of their decision so shortly after the resignation of Gutierrez and their adamance in not allowing the Government to intervene; casts doubt on their sanctimoniousness. Even if they had the technical basis, the justices did not adhere to the spirit of the law nor to the dictates of common sense, common decency and morality that they so mightily referred to.
It looks like the case was wired all the way.
The Administration should not stop there. It should appeal the case to the higher courts but, even more, it should be unceasing in taking these people down.
It should file tax charges against Garcia. If nothing else, the plea bargain is an admission he accumulated illegal wealth. He must understand his troubles are just beginning.
The OSPs handling the case should be fired and investigated for anomalies (with no expression of thanks).
The Ombudsman vacancy should be filled at the earliest time to prevent any more midnight deals by subalterns.
This country faces an elemental issue in its justice system, specifically what are its remedies when the supposed defenders of justice are themselves unjust. Who prosecutes the prosecutors, who judges the judges?
The Navy Seals shot Bin Laden when he might possibly have been taken alive and tried in court.
Filipinos, I suspect, are increasingly coming to this same conclusion: Many now believe what we need is not a day in court for criminals but a bullet in their head.
The nation wants the President to run down the bad guys and is quite indifferent whether it takes Rambo or Mother Theresa to do it. Given our failed judiciary, we might even be increasingly open, I believe, to the virtues -simplicity and efficiency- of vigilante justice and a lynch mob.
As for the Presidential spokesman, we suggest he dispense with niceties and political correctness when referencing fallen officials.
These people, sir, are not your friends.