|He died in vain.|
Everyone who were invited for questioning in the Delima Commission received the boot, including, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and Deputy ombudsman Ed Gonzales. So surprising since the two were never involved in the negotiating panel anyway.
Three networks are also expecting summons very soon from the governmental body which will be tasked to file charges. Even two of my media colleagues, Mike Rogas and Erwin Tulfo, are now facing a possible criminal charge.
The question everyone is asking is--why include the Office of the Ombudsman? They did not do anything illegal. They were asked by the negotiators to give the status of the case filed against the hostage taker. They did so thru a letter transmitted thru Vice Mayor Isko Moreno. That letter, in fact, paved for the release of one hostage.
What is so wrong with that?
The Office of the Ombudsman is a constitutional judicial body. Its mandate is clear---prosecute erring government officials particularly those involved in graft and corrupt cases.
There were suggestions to the effect that the negotiations could have ended if the Office of the Ombudsman just tricked the hostage taker by issuing a favorable letter.
First off, the Ombudsman did issue a favorable letter. Gutierrez, in her generosity, signed a letter signifying her interest in resolving the case of Mendoza. She gave him some glimpse of hope. That is more than enough leeway. The Office has just bent itself over just to accommodate the wiles and caprices of a criminal. That letter is enough.
Second, why give in to the demands of a deranged criminal? Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, Mark Jalandoni is right---the Office of the Ombudsman does not and would not give in to the demands of criminals and terrorists because it will destroy the very integrity of this constitutional body.
What respect would people accord to the office if it issued a bogus letter? It would systematically destroy the very institution tasked in resolving cases.
I agree with Jalandoni that it will even encourage other criminals and grafters in government with pending cases before the Office of the Ombudsman to resort to pressure tactics and illegal acts just to get favorable results from them. That, according to Jalandoni, would set a very dangerous precedent.
The Ombudsman would not allow that.
Now, on to the very core of this entry---that the De Lima Report is bound or designed to fail. Why do I say this?
Very simple. Who will then be tasked to prosecute the personalities that the body recommended to be filed administrative charges?
Will it be the Department of Justice? Obviously, they are now estopped since De Lima herself headed the commission that investigated the matter. No prosecutor will touch these cases.
Will it be the Office of the Ombudsman? Quite a logical choice since it is within the mandate of the Ombudsman to try these cases. The problem really is, the report included Gutierrez, the very head of the office which is constitutionally mandated to prosecute erring government officials.
Who, then, will prosecute? No one.
This explains why the De Lima report included Gutierrez name in it--to weaken the institution and wring its hands to prevent it from touching this very delicate and highly sensitive political issue.
Fact is, the De Lima report was written with politics smeared all over its pages. According to sources, the first draft did not include the name of Gutierrez and Gonzales V. Yet, the final report shows their names already in the dispositive portion. Who inserted their names and why?
Some sectors believe there is a deliberate attempt to weaken the institution of the Office of the Ombudsman and for what purpose? To urge this institution to become an ally of this administration. There are many appointees of this administration who have pending cases before the Ombudsman. By including the name of Gutierrez, these Malacanang factotums hope that the Ombudsman would probably "soften up".
The question really---will the Ombudsman actually bend to their interests, seeing that this administration is slowly losing its credibility before the eyes of the Filipino People?
This report is just to appease the Chinese community, never really intended to prosecute the very people responsible for this fiasco.
In the end, there will be no one who will go to jail for bungling their jobs which led to the deaths of eight Hongkongers.
Now, will the relatives of the victims use the report to file a case before the international courts? No. If these relatives intend to file criminal cases, they cannot do so because the ones which has jurisdiction over the supposed responsible personalities is the Philippines. Can they use the report to file a civil case? Possibly, since it just involves some sort of reparations.