That stupid Pangilinan lawBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Former Ombudsman Merci Gutierrez has cleared Senator Lito Lapid and his son Mark and three former Pampanga officials of plunder on charges they didn’t remit P500 million in quarrying fees to the provincial government.
Both father and son became Pampanga governor one after the other.
But the Lapids were not only the ones taken off the hook for corruption by Gutierrez.
She also reinstated a very corrupt customs official who allegedly amassed wealth in office in what was considered a controversial decision.
Can you blame Gutierrez for feathering her nest before she bowed out of government service?
Her benefactors and idols, Gloria and Mike Arroyo, have allegedly become billionaires before exiting from power.
As one tongue-in-cheek saying goes, “Monkey see, monkey do.”
* * *
By the way, the customs official whom Gutierrez reinstated became an adviser to sacked Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez.
His advice got Alvarez into trouble.
If the new customs commissioner, Ruffy Biazon, gets this official as his adviser, he might suffer the same fate as Alvarez.
* * *
One of Biazon’s first order of business as customs chief was to distinguish legitimate journalists from the fake ones who look over the shoulders of customs officials and personnel.
In customs—as well as in journalistic—parlance, people who wear media ID cards as big as their faces are called hao shiao.
Needless to say, these people are not journalists but panhandlers and extortionists.
Years ago, one of these unscrupulous individuals was using my name to extort money from customs officials.
The Bureau of Customs is probably the only government office that is the most covered by media people, both genuine and illegitimate.
About 30 tabloids, whose combined circulation would not even reach 200 copies, write about the goings-on at the customs bureau.
* * *
There is an urgent need to amend that stupid law that exempts young criminals from punishment even if they have committed heinous crimes.
Under Republic Act 9344, or the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006, authored by Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, persons 15 years old and below cannot be imprisoned even for heinous crimes like rape and murder.
Based on the provisions of that law, the police and the Department of Social Welfare should first determine whether an offender 16 to 18 years of age had “discernment,” meaning the person must have known what he or she was doing during the commission of the crime.
That’s really stupid because in this age of television and the Internet, or the information highway, a 14-year-old kid’s maturity is equivalent to that of a person 20 years of age before the advent of multimedia outlets.
If RA 9344 is a stupid law, what does that make of Pangilinan and his colleagues who passed the law and President Gloria who signed it?
* * *
Because of Pangilinan’s law, three minors who beat up 21-year-old Albert Talon for no apparent reason are out scot-free.
Talon was on his way home from work in Dasmariñas, Cavite province, when he crossed the path of the three young neighborhood toughies.
The three were allegedly under the influence of drugs.
The assault was so severe Talon lost all his teeth. His jaw has been dislocated as a result of the incident.
Asked why they did it, the three said: “Kursunada lang (just for the thrill of it).”
I wonder how those legislators who approved RA 9344 would react if minors beat up their innocent relatives and then tell them the same thing.
More from this Column:
- Chinese trader corners banknotes manufacturer
- An incompetent airport manager
- How easily voters forget
- Dead man biggest winner
- My fearless forecasts