Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Duterte's VACC

Lawyer Topacio and the VACC think they can intimidate VP Robredo and LP senators Drilon and Pangilinan with a "petition for indirect contempt" under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. Their threat is powerless.

When a president, a vice president, or a legislator issues an opinion to the press in the course of his or her public work and in the course of his or her political activities as a high-ranking elective official, the judiciary generally allows him or her a wide latitude of freedom to exercise his or her "right to free speech", "right to presidential or vice presidential immunity", "right to parliamentary immunity", and other legal and traditional privileges.

When VP Robredo and Senators Drilon and Pangilinan issued statements to the effect that the heinous criminal cases filed by Duterte's justice alter ego Aguirre in the Muntinlupa trial courts were acts of political "persecution" (rather than lawful "prosecution"), bias, partiality and hate by the president and his officials and when they expressed the legal opinion that the jurisdiction over the said cases properly belonged to the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan, as the case may be, pursuant to R.A. 3019, as amended (anti-graft and corrupt practices act), no disrespect and malice against the judiciary were unethically and unlawfully intended or caused by them. Neither did they feloniously intend or cause any disorder or disruption in the judicial proceedings.

The VACC has deteriorated into the status of a Duterte political puppet and hatchet man in exchange for juicy positions that Duterte has awarded to its top leaders.

The Filipinos are interested to know what kind of financial support, if any, that the VACC has been receiving from Duterte's unaudited intelligence funds and other discretionary funds as President and from the resources of Duterte's political camp for the maintenance of the VACC's daily operation, litigations, public/press relations, legal expenses, travels and representations, publications, researches, intelligence/surveillance, and many other fixed and variable costs as a huge and influential non-profit anti-crime and anti-corruption group.

The VACC has lost the appearance of credibility that it had originally mustered by reason of the free and lavish publicity that it had enjoyed many years ago when it supported the head of the Vizconde Family in prosecuting the ruthless murderers of his wife and daughters.

The group's lawyer says Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Francis Pangilinan, and Senator Franklin Drilon have been making statements that disrespect the court