>> Friday, October 7, 2016

Exempting erring officials from preventive suspension
Should public officials accused of committing crime or offences be exempted from preventive suspension?
This is now issue of contention between the Office of the Ombudsman and the Lower House. Deputy Ombudsman Gerard Mosquera has defended the stand of the Office of the Ombudsman against the proposed bill of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez which seeks to exempt public officials from preventive suspension.
“We disagree with this premise. It is our position that the mere fact that a public officer no longer occupies position where the offence or in relation to which the offence committed, we believe the possibility of tampering of witnesses, influencing the witnesses, tampering of the records still exists,” Mosquera said.
He said public officials facing complaints may possibly influence the investigation if they remain in their posts. But some House members are not convinced by this argument.
“That is not so anymore. That reason is not applicable to persons occupying another position,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman argued.
More than 50 lawmakers are already supporting the said measures introduced by the house leadership that aims to amend provisions of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act
particularly exemption of public officials from preventive suspension, given that the complaints filed before the Office of the Ombudsman are in connection with their former position in government.
The House Bill 3605 has now referred to the technical working group to further study said measures.
People of this country, even government officials, are presumed innocent unless proven guilty for committing crimes like graft and corruption. But then, “guilty” officials who hold government posts, even if their crimes are unproved yet, could indeed influence outcome of their crimes through reasons Mosquera cited like coercing and influencing witnesses or tampering records.Is imposing preventive suspension on them justified? It would be a welcome development if the House technical working group could come up with a Solomonic decision on the matter after thorough study.

Burying former President Marcos
Standing on the belief that the burial of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos will bring unity and healing to the country, a manifestation was filed Sept. 27 in response to the call against burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
The manifestation was filed by Hyacinth Rafael-Antonio, lawyer of the Marcos family, as directed by Supreme Court Justice Alfredo Caguioa.
 Caguiao asked the Marcos family to drop the planned burial of FEM at LNMB during the second round of oral arguments on Sept. 7 saying, “if it is possible for the Marcos family to actually withdraw their petition in the face of all the pain and anguish expressed during the last hearing, as a sign of healing.”
In the filed manifestation, lawyer Rafael-Antonio maintained that burial of Marcos at LNMB is in accordance with, and implements the law “and because of this the family does not wish to abandon this undertaking.”
The burial of Marcos at LNMB has been politically dividing the country for 27 years now until President Rodrigo R. Duterte backed the plan as a fulfillment of his campaign promise, highlighting national unity and healing.
Rafael-Antonio said it is not only the Marcos family that is awaiting the burial of Marcos at the LNMB, citing the letter of Suzette P. Pido, daughter of the late Col. Ildefonso A. Perez who was incarcerated together with Marcos in Capas, Tarlac during World War II.
Despite being a war veteran and a soldier, Perez made it a part of his last will and testament not to be buried at LNMB until Marcos “was allowed to be similarly interred within its hallowed grounds.”
In her letter, Pido noted that her clan honors a “blood debt to Ferdinand Marcos” as her father personally witnessed the heroism and generosity of the former President” during World War 2
Pido recounted in her letter the story told by her father when “he met a certain Lt. Ferdinand Marcos.”
“When this Lt. Marcos found out that my father’s brother, Sid was at death’s door, he unhesitatingly gave my dad a bottle of intravenous fluid (IV) that had been smuggled into the camp by his mother Josefa Marcos, for her son’s own use in case he, himself got sick,” she wrote.
“While handing over the IV bottle to a person he hardly knew, Lt. Marcos said ‘Your brother needs this more than me,’” she added.
Pido’s uncle Sid “recovered, prospered and lived to a ripe old age” and it is in this light that she sets aside her own political beliefs despite being an anti-Marcos advocate to fulfill her father’s dying wish.”
Despite the negative reports about Martial Law, Pido said his father “wanted us, his family, to recognize the fact that despite all that has been said about the man, for one instance in his life, Ferdinand Marcos was truly a hero.”
Marcos loyalist groups across the country had been actively conducting a signature campaign in support of Marcos’ burial at LNMB with over 500,000 signatures collected since Sept. 25.
A proposal of some groups to end the impasse is for the Marcos family and loyalists   and those against the burial of Marcos at the LNMB to accept the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter to start healing and make this country move forward 


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