Tuesday, January 06, 2009

DOJ Usec. Blancaflor succeeds in keeping Alabang boys in jail!

I was playing a little game with myself yesterday and betting on which story would place higher up in the print and broadcast news.

Would it be the story of Dela Paz filing his case against the Pangandamans or would it be Justice Undersecretary Blancaflor's boo-boo of calling up PDEA to ask about the release of the Alabang boys?

Would it be a golf brawl imbued with questionable national significance? Or would it be the highly irregular action of a Justice Usec asking about the release of the Alabang boys, at a time when controversy surrounded the clearing of the suspects because of a reported P50 million bribe.

I wasn't able to flip through the all early evening news last night and haven't looked at all of the newspapers yet, so I can't really say which of the two stories really got the top tank.

Nevertheless, it seems Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor must have been a good boy for most of 2008 because he finally got one of his most fondest wishes -- that of gaining a lot of media exposure.

He has been known to ask why his press releases weren't getting in the newspapers and had even requested that his press releases be put on the crawl in TV news.

Well, fret no more Usec, you've ARRIVED!

Since Arlyn Dela Cruz's article in the Inquirer over the weekend, his name has been on the frontpages of several newspapers for several days.

The story was that Blancaflor called Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency officer Ferdinand Marcelino to ask why the drug suspects remained under detention despite a DOJ resolution finding no probable cause to charge them. Marcelino said that he felt he was being pressured at a time when his agency had decided not to release the three drug suspects unless DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez signed the release order himself.

Blancaflor in his defense has, of course, said that there was nothing illegal in calling the PDEA and he seems to be right.

However, the thing is, the Usec did not just call PDEA. As soon as he found out that all that was keeping the Alabang boys from being released was a signature from Justice Secretary Gonzalez, a draft release order MAGICALLY appeared at his office and was trasmitted to Justice Secretary Gonzalez.

However, Norman Bordadora of Inquirer reports that :
Justice undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor Monday admitted that the draft order for the release of the so-called “Alabang Boys” passed his office before it was sent to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez for his approval and signature before the Christmas break.

The paper is what Gonzalez was referring to when he said somebody in the Department of Justice (DOJ) had tried to make him sign a draft order to release drug suspects Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph and Joseph Tecson in time for the holidays.

Sources at the justice department point to one of Blancaflor’s secretaries—Janet Payoyo—as the one who brought the draft release order to Gonzalez’s office just before the lengthy Christmas break.

Blancaflor saw nothing wrong with his office transmitting the draft release order for Gonzalez’s signature.

“Because I was not around, I always instruct my staff that whatever document passes through here to give it to the Office of the Secretary or the staff in charge,” he said at a news conference.

Blancaflor said he didn’t even see the paper. “Inasmuch as that paper was not within our office, I had someone check with the prosecutor involved and I sent it to the Office of the Secretary,” he said.

The undersecretary said he didn’t even know where the draft order came from or how it came to his office. He said it arrived in his office either on Dec. 22 or Dec. 23. He said he was already in Iloilo at that time.

Blancaflor, in essense, denies having had the draft of the release order written.

The report further says:

Gonzalez said drafting a release order for drug suspects was not one of Blancaflor’s functions in the DOJ.

“It is not illegal per se when you speak of illegality but it is irregular. In other words, you prepared a resolution for me to sign and I have not ordered you to prepare it. Maybe if I ordered that such an order be prepared, I could not complain,” Gonzalez said.

The justice secretary said there was a possibility that Blancaflor might be found administratively liable for the draft release order.

“He can be,” the justice secretary said when asked if Blancaflor may he administratively liable.

Further on:

The justice secretary, nonetheless, found Blancaflor’s seeming interest in the suspects’ case “a bit unusual.”

“It is not basically within the ambit of his assigned responsibilities. But any undersecretary can inquire,” Gonzalez said.

He said the “Alabang Boys” had yet to be cleared. The resolution finding no case against the suspects that Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño signed has yet to be approved by justice secretary.

“The normal procedure, under the manual for prosecutors, if the case is decided there, the final say belongs to the chief prosecutor of the city or the province,” Gonzalez said.

“But… if it is a drug or smuggling case if the punishment is more than five years, and you dismiss a case of that nature, you must get my imprimatur. As far as I’m concerned, something that didn’t pass through me, technically is not yet a valid resolution,” he said.

As a result, Justice Secretary Gonzalez says that it would now be impossible for him to sign an order releasing the Alabang boys.

That's good news, isn't it?

Actually, if you were trying to do a PR job for Usec. Blancaflor, perhaps you can sput a positive spin on all of this.

You could say that contrary to suspicions that Blancaflor was trying to FACILITATE the release of the Alabang boys, his gameplan all along was really to keep them in jail longer.

Could the Usec. be telling his fraternity brothers, "Oks ba mga brad? Galing ko ano?!" (Translation: Hey brothers, I did some amazing shit didn't I?)

Score one for the BLANK! er Blancaflor!


blogsurdities said...

I know Ric Blancflor personally and he isn't the type who would go for some druggies tho' he may help friends. He helped me in the past when one stupid policeman made a mistake of threatening me for not giving him my camera.

Admin said...

Dear Blogsurdities or whoever you are:

Are you saying that (sic) Ric Blancflor gave Brodett's lawyer the letterhead that was used to make the resolution that was sent to Justice Secretary GonzaleZ for signing?

Also, consider your statement again:

(sic) Blancflor is not the type who would go for some druggies he may help friends...

In this case his friend was Brodett's lawyer and this lawyer was representing drug pushers.

So, ultimately, he was helping druggies.

Tingin siguro ng kaibigan mo eh tanga ang mga tao.

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