Where thou the briber?
It ought to be crystal clear by now, however improbable it might be to change prevailing public sentiment on the matter, that PDEA chief Santiago and PDEA agent Major Marcelino fairly succeeded to have us believe of the myth of a P50 million bribery to DOJ state prosecutors from the camp of the drug suspects. This is so because of what Patani of Survivor Philippines calls “media exposure”. What adds fuel to the fire is the effect of automatic media hypnosis that fans the flames of public hatred against those state prosecutors allegedly having accepted bribes all the way to the chief of DOJ although in a sudden twist, Santiago singled out Gonzales as clean insinuating that all the rest were bribed. And the ponente, Atty. Resado has become the canon fodder for the Chief State Prosecutor Zuno as well as DOJ Secretary Gonzales. Vindication for Atty. Resado might come at a much later time when the issue would have already fizzled out to oblivion.
Maj. Marcelino referred to the bribe offeror in a dubious cellphone conversation as a certain JoTec who he said offered the so-called – “tatllong manok” – sub-lingo in the narcotics world (euphemism for P3 million). And what is surprising is that he did not as much as undertake to track the lead so that PDEA can really push its drug campaign all the way to the doorstep of the drug cartel. Was there any JoTec presented to media or to the congressional hearing by Marcelino or Santiago? And in a quick subterfuge, another reference is made to a certain mistah of Marcelino having offered the bribe – a presumably proud member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 94, the class he belongs. Again, was this mistah of him ever presented in the legitimate hearing called for the purpose? How many times did Marcelino snub the invitations of the NBI so that a no non-sense investigation can begin?
Rather prematurely, Malacanang grabbed the thunder from the feuding institutions with GMA declaring herself as the new drug czar after placing the DOJ prosecutors on an indefinite leave of absence as a work in preventive suspension while granting immunity or reward (in the language of Survivor Philippines) to PDEA for apparently having edged DOJ over on this part of the ‘war game’. Thus, Atty. Resado appears to have been booted out with the group having resigned en masse if DOJ secretary did not stop them. So what we had is to simply believe as gospel truths everything that Santiago and Marcelino have to say. So the truth are – there was a P3 million bribe from JoTech, there was a P50 million bribe from a mistah (classmate from the Philippine Military Academy of Marcelino). At the very least, that mistah ought to be summarily dismissed from the military or, it ought to be asked to what extent Maj. Marcelino may be guilty of coddling a briber of a mistah apparently giving protection to supposed-to-be drug traffickers.
The rest of the truths are – the evidence are not planted evidence – as shown on media first than any other more legitimate venue; the suspect attempted to ram his vehicle to the mobile car of the PDEA agents thus forcing them to fire at the suspects in a 15 minute chase; that the other Brodett family who unexpectedly appeared in the congressional hearing without invitation did so voluntary and not indicatively bound by instruction but by conscience; that Santiago told the Magdalo officers turned narc agents of PDEA that ‘they should walk their talk” when they were recruited into PDEA; and so on and so forth.
On separate occasions, PDEA chief Santiago is documented to have admitted that in certain cases, they really resort to planting of evidence which is of course violative of law however Santiago appears to justify it. Likewise, Santiago has also admitted that he used to psyche out prosecutors in drug cases which carries some weight of malice. Further, he did state with typical pride that PDEA is composed of professional military and police officers. And clearly, by professionalism, he probably means that even ‘adventurists’ in the military, putschists, or former Magdalo officers are the kind of professional military officers he is proud to have as anti-drug operatives. Up until today, the public fever is still high for a voting population patronizing of now Senator Trillanes and so people think this bolsters PDEA’s institutional integrity.
Everything ought to be reviewed in this scheme and scene. First, Maj. Marcelino must be compelled to present his mistah who he said bribed him – not just once, but twice – for apparently two separate reasons, both connected to the Alabang boys. Who is the mystery guy whom no court nor cognizant congressional committee can compel to testify or offer testimony or evidence? Why did not Maj. Marcelino take any legal action against the bribery attempt against a mistah if true he is a principled man? And in publicly stating by mere allegation that a P50 million bribe has changed hands, what proof, if any, does he have now that would stand scrutiny? How far away is Maj. Marcelino from the one who handed in the bundles of money to the one or more prosecutors of DOJ being bribed? Was it first hand knowledge as in, with own two eyes, Marcelino saw the whole crime from happening? Why did he not design another bribe-bust operation to acquire solid evidence of such a claim thrown in the moon?
Everything in this bribery scandal ought to be threshed out so that not one prosecutor of DOJ or others may be unduly linked to a crime they probably did not even commit in reality. From where I sit, this version of PDEA is fast becoming the kind of versions being fed by most police or enforcement authorities to shape later legal opinion rendered on a case they possibly can have a level of participation on. Sadly, with the prosecutors on kind of punitive leave of absence might amount to an obstruction of justice much like the way people have been duped that Erap did in fact sign a resignation letter, basis for Chief Justice Davide ‘s swearing in GMA whom many think is not a legitimate president.
Level of objectivity is the name of the game. This case must be carefully looked into with the end in view of ferreting out the truth from a mass of obviously concocted myths.