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Home Columns JGL Eye Ping Lacson Has Nowhere to Hide?
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Columns - JGL Eye
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Friday, 19 February 2010 21:39

 

JGL Eye

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2009 Journal Group Link International)

 

  

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – Philippine Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s reason for escaping from the claws of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo maybe on target. He does not like to give her “the pleasure of seeing my life miserable and in danger.”

 

That is, if he can outlast her everlasting grip on power even if she is desperately grasping on straws (kapit sa patalim).

 

But at whose expense?


At the expense of the Philippine justice system, but of course!

 

There have been senators in the United States and other parts, who fled prosecutions from their homelands. But Senator Lacson’s sensational flight from the Philippines shortly after the New Year could go down in Philippine annals as one of the high-profile cases in recent memories.

 

Most of the crimes by fleeing politicians in the U.S. were committed in the 18th century and involved mostly high treason.

 

EXAMPLE OF GEN. AUGUSTO PINOCHET

 

B ut one of the more sensational recent flights was that of former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet when he went to London, England for disc hernia surgery in 1998. Pinochet (pronounced PEE-noh-shay) was suddenly placed under arrest on a warrant of arrest issued by a Spanish judge, who charged the 82-year-old dictator as responsible for “thousands of people who died or disappeared,” including Spanish citizens, in Chile in the decade after he seized power in 1973 following a bloody coup. Pinochet had never faced a judge or jury at home.

 

SENATOR-FOR-LIFE

 

G eneral Pinochet’s supporters protested the arrest of the former head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces, invoking his diplomatic immunity as a self-proclaimed “senator for life” in Chile and that he traveled to London on his official passport.

 

Pinochet was eventually allowed to go home in Chile after the British government ruled that the former dictator was mentally and physically unfit to be extradited to Spain for trial on charges of human rights abuses. Actually, it was British payback to Pichochet for helping England during England's Falkland War against Argentina.

 

Lacson may not have been accused of mass murder in the league of Pinochet. But he has a better chance of obtaining justice at home than continuing to flee in a world that is shrinking by the minute like a pan de sal (bread with salt) that could lead to his early arrest. Thanks to the advent of the Internet.

 

If he ends his vagabond life sooner before he is arrested, it could mitigate the circumstances in case if he is found guilty. If he is arrested as fugitive, it could aggravate his situation.

 

If he feels he is being harassed by the Arroyo government, Ping should think again.

 

Ping should feel luckier the Arroyo government has not yet thrown everything, even the kitchen sink at him. If the government really pushes the envelope, it should now dangle big reward money for people, who could tip off his whereabouts.

 

I read in the papers, Malacañang offered a one-million pesos ($20,000) reward money for informants that led to the arrest of erstwhile fugitive Jason Ivler because Ivler’s road rage victim, Renato Victor Ebarle, Jr., is the son of Presidential Chief of Staff Renato Ebarle, Sr. The amount may be a trickle compared to the $25-million bounty offered by the U.S. government for the arrest of Osama Bin Laden but it is better than nothing.

 

NO MALACAÑANG VICTIM, NO REWARD MONEY

 

F ortunately, Ping’s alleged murder victims, Salvador “Buddy” Dacer, and Dacer’s driver, Emmanuel Corbito, were not related to a Malacañang official so there was no need for reward money to be put up by Malacañang for Ping’s arrest.

 

Just like the hundreds of suspects behind the massacre of nearly 60 people, including 31 journalists, in Maguindanao province in the Philippines last November, the Arroyo government never offered any reward money to round up all the killers because there was no Malacañang or government official among the victims.

 

For as long as the Arroyo government will go slow in putting up a reward money for information of the whereabouts of Ping that is allowed by some Philippine special laws, like the bondsmen in court, in customs, tariff code, internal revenue code and others, Ping can take his own sweet time in eluding arrest.

 

And for as long as Philippine Congress does not raise the amount of reward money for fugitives nor the amount of bonds, property forfeited and fines in case of non-appearance of defendants during court trial, more and more cases are going to remain unsolved by the courts and more defendants will stay at large.

 

But as to Ping’s alleged plan to return to the Philippines only after a change in the Administration, Ping should forget about it.

 

If Mrs. Arroyo wins a congressional seat, she can still wield considerable power if she is chosen Speaker of the House.

 

If I were Ping, he should return to the Philippines and face the music while he organizes a campaign so that Arroyo will be voted off from occupying a Pampanga’s congressional seat.

 

If Arroyo loses, then, Ping’s problem is a third solved. He only has to reckon with the other two thirds – the court and the next President of the Philippines.

 

Otherwise, Ping’s problem is just beginning. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #

 

© opyright 2009 The Journal Group Link International. The contents provided in the JGLi may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of the Journal Group Link International.

 

(Editor’s Note: Watch out for the upcoming outlet-oriented, subscription-based website of Journal Group Link International that guarantees originally sourced stories, features, photos, audios and videos and multi-media contents.)

 


 

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