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Speaker receives Singson resignation letter

By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:11:00 03/01/2011

Filed Under: Government, Congress, Crime and Law and Justice, Illegal drugs

MANILA, Philippines?Ilocos Sur Governor Luis ?Chavit? Singson handed Tuesday the resignation letter of his son, Representative Ronald Singson, to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., in keeping with the latter's promise to vacate his seat at the House of Representatives after his conviction for drug trafficking in Hong Kong.

In his letter, Ronald Singson said he had come to the ?painful decision? to tender his resignation as a member of the 15th Congress not because he was succumbing to the ?noisy few? colleagues who were demanding his expulsion.

Ronald Singson said his decision was a fulfillment of his promise to his father who had all the right to protest the provocation from his colleagues ?because it was his name and honor that was mercilessly dragged into the tempest of my own undoing.?

?But again, true to family tradition, my family stood firm as a pillar of support and never left me to languish in misery alone,? the congressman wrote.

?This unfortunate episode, a product of misjudgment and naivete on my part, reminds of the maxim: A friend in need is a friend indeed. For it is in uncertain times like these that the true worth of friends is measured, not at the peak of power, influence or wealth,? he said.

The younger Singson added he was quitting in humble recognition of the noble character and purpose of the majority of congressmen who, he said, kept their peace and prayed while patiently waiting for the conclusion of his case in Hong Kong.

He said he and his family did not personally know many of them but he acknowledged their messages of support and solidarity, saying they inspired and strengthened him while he was in jail awaiting the court?s verdict.

Ronald Singson has started serving his 18 months? sentence at Hong Kong?s Lai Chi Kok Correctional Institution.

?In like vein, I would also like to thank the noisy minority who demanded my ouster even before my plea of guilt and the final verdict. Let me thank them as the Lord Jesus preached: 'If they throw you stones, throw them bread,'? he said.

?Finally, I am tendering my resignation as a Congressman for the sake of my countrymen, the Filipino people, especially my constituents in the first district of Ilocos Sur, who look up to the members of Congress with respect bordering on adulation, and with undying hope for truly honorable legislators as exemplars of the highest standards of behavior,? he added.

Upon his arrival at the House of Representatives, Chavit Singson hit back at some congressmen for insisting on expulsion proceedings despite an earlier announcement that the younger Singson would resign.

He said these congressmen acted as if they owned Congress and could not even wait for the final judgment by the Wanchai District Court.

?Iyong mga congressmen dito, tadyakan pa din ang gusto nila. Kung baga sa boksing dapa na, tatadyakan pa ng husto,? the governor said. ?Ang akala mo sila ang may-ari ng Congress eh. Mag re-resign na nga, sasabihin pa we will expel him.? (Some congressmen here would love to kick my son even of he?s down already. Just like in boxing, my son?s already down but they still want to beat him... They act as if they own Congress. My son already said he was resigning and yet they go on saying ?we will expel him.?")

Chavit Singson said that his son had in fact decided to resign as soon as the case was brought to trial regardless of whether the verdict was ?guilty or not? in the end.

Chavit Singson said that he had tried to explain his son's predicament in Hong Kong and their wish to initially keep quiet about it pending final judgment in deference to the judge.

However, some congressmen would not listen and went on to create some noise, which could have also affected the sentencing, he said.

?Ronald knew there was no way out. He was prepared so he decided to resign. But some people here could not even wait. You have to understand that right after the sentencing, we were not able to talk to him. Even his daughter Samantha, who was crying, was not allowed to hug him. We're only allowed to visit twice a month and we had consumed that already,? the governor stressed.

His son's lawyer had to request to prison authorities to visit his client in order to get the signed resignation letter.

Chavit Singson insisted that his son was innocent and that he only pleaded guilty to being a drug user in order to get a light sentence, instead of the potential charge of drug pushing, which would carry severe punishment.

He said that his own initial investigation showed that the drugs were planted on his son by his enemies in politics and business but refused to name them.

The governor further said that Benjamin Leo-bin, his son's companion on his flight to Hong Kong and alleged drug dealer, was not actually Ronald Singson's buddy but would just love to tag along every time his son traveled.

Leo-bin was arrested in November 2010 by the National Bureau of Investigation during a buy-bust operation inside a five-star hotel in Ortigas as Benjamin Leo-Bin, a Filipino-Chinese with aliases Benjamin Bokbok-Yu and Richardson Bondoc Ang.

Copyright 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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