Saturday, January 10, 2009

The PDEA-DOJ TIFF OVER THE ALABANG BOYS

lately, we had been entertained by the very public laundry washing of pdea and doj over the alabang boys. the issue, as i understood it, is very simple: when pdea arrested the alabang boys, the families of the suspects allegedly tried to bribe pdea into releasing them without filing the case. when their bribe were turned down, they allegedly offered the bribe to the doj and viola, they almost got away with it.

so how this all happened and what is my take on this? to appreciate the chain of events better, it is helpful to revisit the sequence:

September 20 (Saturday) – Richard Brodett and Jorge Joseph were arrested by PDEA agents in a buy bust operations conducted in the early morning at about 1AM. four hours later, Joseph Tecson was also arrested in a follow up operation based on the information provided by the two.

September 21 (Sunday) – State Prosecutor John Resado conducted inquest proceedings in PDEA headquarters in Quezon City where the suspects were detained. He recommended no bail for ALL charges against ALL suspects. Immediately, the suspects executed a waiver of Article 125 and Resado set preliminary investigation on September 29.

December 2 (two months later) – The Department of Justice national prosecution service files a resolution dismissing the case due to "lack of probable cause."

December 3 to present – All hell breaks loose.

so how do i analyze the situation? bottomline: pdea is telling the truth and the doj (prosectors and all) were lying. how did I arrive to this conclusion?

in the first two days of the arrest, pdea did everything by the book: within the reglamentary period, they presented the suspects for inquest. in this first round, they won by knockout--resado upheld the arrest and no bail was recommended. but this is just round 1 in the fight between the arresting officers (pdea) and the suspects.

in this portion, major marcelino must be telling the truth when he said that several people called him up and offered the bribe. this is the normal course of things in any police operation. common sense will uphold the assumption that the suspects will bribe their captors in the hope of getting off the hook easy and immediately.

this approach may sometimes work for "piso-piso" operations but not for the big ones like the alabang boys. more so if the case is already reported by the media, this approach has no chance whatsoever. there are just too many risks that no policeman or law enforcer in his right mind will do this. he has to present the suspects for inquest.

during the inquest, the families had not yet offered the bribe to resado et. al. this is the reason why resado recommended the case for filing. subsequently, following the natural course of things, lawyers of suspects caught in this situation (no bail on inquest) requests for PI. In the PI, the ballgame takes a completely different texture. this is round 2 between pdea and the suspects. and a new player comes into the ring.

In inquest proceedings, only the arresting officers are asked by the inquest prosecutors and questions towards the suspects are usually perfunctory. the only thing being determined by the inquest prosecutor is the validity or legality of the arrest based on Rule 113 the RRC. the PI on the other hand is a sort of quasi-judicial proceeding wherein the investigating prosecutor actually hears both sides before rendering a resolution. so in inquest, the fiscal is sort of a big brother to the police while in pi, the fiscal is in the middle.

so where did things most probably went wrong?

for pdea: they did everything right except entrap the bribers. for all we know, pdea double crossed the suspects (accepted the bribes--but not major marcelino i think--and still filed the case anyway.) this might have given rise to the outburst of one of the relatives of the suspects as narrated during the congressional inquiry.

for resado, he was very coarse in his diskarte. he should have not rendered an inquest resolution right there if he had the intention of receiving the expected bribe. he should have talked to his supervisor first. but habit may have overtaken him this time. it is common to see cases recommended for filing by the inquest prosecutors on the night of the inquest proceedings when the arresting offices are present, overturned the next morning by the chief inquest when the resolution is forwarded to him. during the interim, you and i knows what happens.

for the doj, they had tolerated their people for so long that verano thought that even in this high profile case, he can get away with the blatantly illegal things that he used to do all the time.

for the family of the suspects, they should have known better than bribe pdea. with a bagito marines as team leader of the arresting team, they should have known that he is still incorruptible. had they bribed resado at the very start, they could have won right in the very first round. resado could have written: "there are things that need to be clarified in a preliminary investigation. release of the suspects is hereby ordered unless detained for other lawful grounds." the only recourse of the pdea then is a motion for reconsideration.

this happens all the time!

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