Commentary: Only in the Philippines!

Another banner headline story in local online news site has made the Philippines again, a ‘laughing stock.’

Inquirer’s news article, “Beat plunder charge by subtracting P1,000 from P50-M threshold” reported that the Senate was informed that a P1,000 bill was missing from the P50 million in cash that former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioners Michael Robles and Al Argosino handed over to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which they received from casino mogul Jack Lam.

The bribe money were supposedly intended for the release of more than 1,300 illegal Chinese workers arrested during a raid on Lam’s casino in Pampanga province in November last year was P1,000 short of a plunder case.

This is a handiwork that would clearly drop the plunder charges filed against the two commissioners. They will be prevented from being detained if the charges against them are downgraded from plunder to graft and direct bribery.

The threshold amount for the charge of plunder, a nonbailable offense, is P50 million.

Stunned by the information, Senators Franklin Drilon and Loren Legarda thought that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, was just joking when he gave the information during a senate hearing on the proposed 2018 budget of the DOJ.

After requesting a bank to count the money, it was found that it was short of P1,000.

Aguirre told the senators that of the amount, P29,999,000 was in the custody of the DOJ, P2 million in the Office of the Ombudsman, and P18 million in the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

So the bribe money that the DOJ has in their possession is the one that was shorted of P1,000.

Very suspicious indeed. The fact remains that the two commissioners admitted under oath during a senate inquiry that they demanded P50 million and it was delivered to them.

What a way to elude detention. Well, we need not be surprised, Robles and Argosino are fraternity brothers of Aguirre and President Rodrigo Duterte.

Fratmen usually are their brods keepers. They are obsessed with protecting the hides of their comrades at all costs!

With regards to this missing P1,000 case, the joke is caused by the jokers in congress. They created a distinct crime of plunder and set the threshold at P50 million.

With the threshold, plunderers and their cohorts in the justice department end up conspiring, doing some magic and minuses tactic to the money they illegally amassed just to escape imprisonment.

It is ridiculously an obvious act of stupidity, circumventing the law and outright malice. Another gross insult to the Filipino people’s intelligence.

As they say, this happens only in the Philippines. Do you agree?


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