KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS
By ATTY. BATAS MAURICIO
LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy…” (Proverbs 12:22, the Holy Bible).
ISSUE OF EVIDENCE BEING PLANTED IN SARANGANI MUST BE RESOLVED RIGHT AWAY: Were they planted or not? The illegal drugs and guns, I mean, that are now being claimed to have been confiscated by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) allegedly from the house of Sarangani Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. And did the PDEA operatives who raided the house of Lopez comply with existing regulations?
I propose an immediate resolution of this charge by Lopez when the Department of Justice starts conducting the preliminary investigation on the cases that are to be filed against him. It is of urgent importance that this matter is clarified right away, whether the evidence against the mayor were planted or not, on account of the serious legal repercussions that may arise if his accusations are proved true.
Severe penalties await officers and employees of government who would be found by satisfactory evidence to have planted any incriminating evidence against anyone. In addition, the DOJ must right away also look into the faithful compliance with the rules affecting confiscated contraband.
RULES TO BE COMPLIED WITH IN DRUG RAIDS: For the information of all, especially of the police or of other government functionaries who regularly conduct raids on the houses or dens of suspected possessors of contraband like drugs or guns, it should always be remembered that raids like these are supposed to be carried out strictly under the rules which even the Supreme Court has already upheld.
According to Section 21 of Republic Act 9561, the law on illegal drugs at present, the first rule is for those who conducted the raids to immediately inventory the contraband that have been seized by them during their raids.
This inventory must be carried out in the presence of the suspect or of his lawyer, of a representative from media, of the Department of Justice, and in the presence likewise of any elected official in the locality where the raids were conducted. The Supreme Court decreed that the inventory must be made in the presence of all these people, to safeguard the integrity of the evidence. Dismissal of the case arising from the raid will be ordered if anyone of the people mentioned here did not attend the inventory.
WHY THE DIFFERENT SETTLEMENT AMOUNTS FOR MIGHTY CORP.? There is something I find hard to understand from the reports about the settlement amount that is supposed to be paid by Mighty Corporation to settle the criminal cases for tax evasion that were filed against its owners, in connection with their alleged refusal to pay taxes for their products. Is it P45 billion, or P25 billion, or P37.5 billion?
From the report that was attributed to Malacanang Press Spokesman Ernesto Abella, it was said that the amount Mighty Corporation was to pay as settlement amount for the tax evasion cases against its owners was P49 billion. On the other hand, from the report attributed to the Department of Justice, the amount being mentioned as settlement for the cases of Mighty Corporation is P25 billion only.
Now, another report, this time on the three tax evasion cases filed by the Bureau of International Revenue, the amount being claimed that must be paid is P37.5 billion for Mighty Corporation’s unpaid tax liabilities. Well, what really is the truth here, Malacanang, DOJ, and BIR? Is there already a settlement or there is none yet? Why do the reports vary on the amount to be paid? What can Mighty Corporation say to this?
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