Category: justice

Perfect storm in wild, wild Philippines

Tony La Viña

For our sake, we better understand what is happening and act collectively to avert the worst outcome.

First, there was the filing last Friday of the impeachment complaint against President Duterte by Representative Gary Alejano of the Magdalo party list. The timing was perfect, with Congress having just adjourned, surprising the Duterte administration and its supporters.

Read on…

Mar and Grace must speak out

… The two won a combined vote of 18.6 million compared to President Duterte’s 15.9 million (Santiago and Binay earned a paltry 6.7 million votes combined).

If Poe and Roxas speak out, Duterte may taunt them as losers. If he does, that’s all right, that’s his style. But having had a combined vote larger than Duterte’s, they’re in a position to call out the government to rein in the police.

We all – government supporters and dissenters – must work together to make sure the nation’s direction is righted before things deteriorate and all will be lost. We cannot afford to have another Marcosian nightmare that we had from 1965 to 1986.

This is not a call to arms, a coup d’etat, or another People Power uprising. Rather, this is a call for enlightenment, for discernment, for open-mindedness, and for unity.

Leandro DD Coronel

a sexist sandiganbayan

so why does gigi reyes deserve to be treated differently, i.e., so terribly misogynistically badly, with handcuffs yet!  compared to the machos revilla jr. and estrada jr. and the former’s chief of staff richard cambe?  is she allegedly more guilty than the two senators and their cohorts?  or is it, as i’ve suspected from the beginning, a strategy meant to pressure her into spilling the beans on boss enrile…  sometimes i wonder why she didn’t just stay away.  i suppose she was promised fair treatment and hearing?  or maybe she was promised that enrile was too powerful, no arrests would happen.  bum steer.

Gigi’s sorrows
by Rina Jimenez-David

The sorrows that Gigi Reyes faces would seem, to some, as simply just punishment for her role in the “pork barrel scam.” She had served as chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, one of the three senators accused (and now held in detention) for their part in the diversion of public money into private hands.

Sometimes called the “25th senator,” Reyes was said to be particularly powerful during Enrile’s term as Senate president, when she held extraordinary sway in the running of the chamber, in behalf of her boss.

But regardless of her guilt or innocence in the scam, which should be determined in the course of hearings at the Sandiganbayan, does Reyes deserve the treatment she’s now getting in the hands of the antigraft court?

Friends and relatives raise concern about how Reyes is seemingly being singled out for tougher punishment than her coaccused. Enrile is confined in an air-conditioned room at the Camp Crame Hospital after being arraigned in private, away from the media’s prying eyes. The two other senators—Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla—are being held in a especially-renovated custodial center at the PNP compound, which a human rights lawyer described as akin to a “three-star hotel” for detainees. They are joined there by other coaccused in the case, including Revilla’s chief of staff Richard Cambe, who is Reyes’ counterpart. Even Janet Napoles, considered the “brains” behind the operation, has been “enjoying” a stay at stand-alone quarters at a PNP Special Action Forces camp in Laguna.
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IN CONTRAST, Reyes has been ordered detained in a regular city jail, although she has since been staying in an “isolation room” in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, a detention center for political detainees and certain criminals.

Recent reports said Reyes suffered an “anxiety attack” while being booked at Camp Bagong Diwa and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital and then transferred to the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City for a checkup. The court later ordered her return to the detention center.

…But if Reyes deserves to be treated like a criminal, then so should all the other accused in the crime—especially the principals.

Reyes’ camp points out a fact that many seem to have forgotten. Reyes, they said, came home from the United States where she could have stayed for as long as she wanted. “But she wanted to clear her name and trusted in the legal system,” a brother asserts. Why is she being singled out for “special” treatment? Is it in hopes that the harsh treatment would compel her to turn state’s witness, like Ruby Tuason, who was even allowed to travel abroad after she surrendered to authorities? Or are people pulling strings to scare her into silence? Your guess is as good as mine.

but wait.  here’s breaking news on @ ANC 24/7 

JUST IN: Sandiganbayan orders transfer of Janet Lim Napoles from Fort Sto. Domingo, Laguna to Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig. Sandiganbayan 3rd Division Clerk of Court Dennis Pulma says BJMP must immediately implement order to transfer Napoles.

so.  the question remains.  why the women only?  why not the men, too?  to think that the enrile cases are being handled by a woman, no less than the sandiganbayan’s presiding justice amparo cabotaje-tang who also heads the third division, and whom the president appointed to the graft court’s highest post last october, bypassing acting presiding justice gregorio ong (for alleged links to napoles) and other senior associate justices. what message are you sending, presiding justice, ma’am?  what message is the sandiganbayan sending?  parusahan agad ang mga babae, pero kaawaan, alagaan, alalayan muna ang mga lalaki?  what discrimination is this!  anti-woman much?

who is ma’am arlene? wanted: whistleblowers in the judiciary

on the eve of the first day of oral arguments in the supreme court re the TRO on what’s left of the PDAF, philippine star columnist jarius bondoc tossed in this bomb:

Just call her Ma’am Arlene – the Judiciary’s version of Janet Lim Napoles.

She throws birthday bashes for Appellate Court justices and trial court judges, and bankrolls their family junkets abroad. She is the magistrates’ go-to girl if they need to give an offspring an expensive graduation or wedding gift. She makes them dependent on her, for a reason.

Cases are won depending on which Ma’am Arlene’s rich client-litigant is. Her connections are not limited to the courts, but extend all the way to the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman. She is notorious as a fixer of cases, with investigators, prosecutors, and magistrates, mostly in Metro Manila. She has counterparts in other big cities.

Ma’am Arlene always gets what she wants. That’s because, sources say, court bigwigs and key personnel are in her secret payroll. The justices’ spouses are yearly recipients of luxurious birthday gifts. No one turns her down, lest she spill the beans on them.

Her criminal generosity knows no limits. But some magistrates avoid her. For, she has the funny habit of bragging about her connections. It’s no different from Napoles reportedly telling her employees that this senator or that congressman “is asking for money again.” Riding around town in as snazzy SUVs like Ma’am Janet does, she “owns the Judiciary” like the latter “own the Congress.” And, oh, like Napoles, Ma-am Arlene is no lawyer. Yet she “lawyers” inside chambers, for such “honorable clients” as a flour importer who allegedly also brings in banned substances.

a bomb that has yet to explode because this arlene woman has yet to be identified…

Bondoc did not provide the full name of Arlene, but court sources said she is married to a former judiciary official who is close to a prominent member of the prosecution service. She reportedly worked in the Arroyo administration.  … court sources said she is known even to court employees, adding she is a native of Iloilo and related to a suspected Chinese smuggler of flour.

… and evidence has yet to be presented.  googling ma’am arlene, i found posted on abs-cbn‘s facebook page a link to Sereno: Find judiciary’s own ‘Mrs. Napoles’ where the chief justice says there are many stories of hoodlums in robes but no evidence, and she doesn’t know if this arlene is involved.  and this comment:

Naku naman Madam Chief Justice, halos lahat ng nasa judiciary alam na kung sino si Madam Arlene, mukhang ikaw na lang ang di naka-kilala sa kanya?!

if true, and i have no reason to doubt jarius, then it would be interesting should the call for whistleblowers a la benhur luy to come forward prove futile.  this arlene woman must be doing something “right” that napoles didn’t?  no paper trails?  no records?  or maybe she’s just paying her staff really well and maybe treating them like family?  or, speaking of family, maybe it’s as simple as: she doesn’t have a daughter thoughtlessly flaunting her wealth on the internet?  puwede ring, all of the above.