Sen. Panfilo Lacson did an honorable act which honorable men should do.
He filed a complaint against Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez regarding the Justice Secretary’s recent controversial “incentives” for the province of Iloilo to give a 12-0 victory for the administration candidates. In short, what Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez did was simply “vote-buying” in any which way you look at it.
Criminal raps, disbarment sought vs DOJ chief
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez now faces criminal charges and a disbarment case over his recent statements about cash rewards for village chiefs and the death of US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell.
Stressing public office is a public trust, opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson filed Monday graft charges against Gonzalez for the alleged P10,000 offer to village chiefs in Iloilo in exchange for 12-0 votes for administration senatorial bets.
Lawyer Ely Pamatong, meanwhile, lodged a disbarment complaint against Gonzalez before the Supreme Court over the justice chief’s “immoral statements” that Campbell was partly to blame for her death.
Lacson said he is filing the case as his civic duty to stop Gonzalez from “blatantly and arrogantly” violating the law.
“I’m filing this not as a senator but as a citizen. If we allow high officials to violate the law with impunity we are equally guilty. The Bible says that for evil to triumph, it takes just a few good men to do nothing. We’ve been a shame to other nations because our own officials violate the law,” he said in Filipino.
Lacson said he might file similar charges against other candidates who had made similar promises in past weeks, but not during the campaign period.
“There’s time for that. Once we get evidence after the elections I might file charges against them. But right now I don’t want to be accused of playing politics,” he said.
He also challenged Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to act swiftly and fairly on his complaint, after filing the case before her office.
“On a larger perspective, said offer of Secretary Gonzalez will have a far-reaching effect as this will make the officials concerned and the public in general complacent and look the other way even in the face of massive cheating that will be committed just to ensure the victory of Team Unity candidates,” he said in his complaint.
He added it was clear that the promise of P10,000 was designed to influence barangay (village) officials to vote and to work doubly hard for a 12-0 vote in favor of Team Unity.
This, he said, was “an act which is tantamount to vote buying and punishable under the Omnibus Election Code.”
Worse, he said Gonzalez remained defiant and claimed he did nothing wrong, by claiming non-candidates are not prohibited from buying votes, and that the funds will come from his own pocket anyway.
“Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives,” he said.
Lacson pointed out that Gonzalez’s acts constitute the crime of attempted corruption of public officials penalized under Article 212 in relation to Article 6 (Consummated, Frustrated and Attempted Felonies) of the Revised Penal Code.
The provision penalizes “any person who shall have made the offers or promises or given the gifts of presents.”
He added Gonzalez is liable for violating Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft Law, which punishes “persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations.”
Meanwhile, Pamatong likened Gonzalez to a rampaging “elephant” with a loose tongue, dzBB radio said.
In seeking Gonzalez’s disbarment, Pamatong said the Supreme Court was the proper entity to punish the justice chief since the latter was the highest prosecutor in the government.
Gonzalez earlier said Campbell was a “little irresponsible” for walking alone at the mountain trail in Batad village at Banaue, Ifugao on April 8.
Campbell was bludgeoned to death by a 25-year-old woodcarver who claimed he mistook the American volunteer as his enemy in the same village. – GMANews.TV