|With Gen. Danny Lim: From left Mortz, Lim, retired Col. Wilmher Panabang, Alaminos City Mayor Nani Braganza, and an official of Guardian.|
“Your clerk is already famous. His story was already picked up by the Agence France Press for global consumption,” I told retired army general Danilo Lim in reference to Bureau of Custom’s lowly employee who shot the car of a college student when the latter bumped and damaged his muti-million of pesos German made Porshe.
I met Lim when I joined him and Alaminos City mayor Nani Braganza over a sumptuous lunch of lechon kawali , adobong squid, and stewed shrimps with tamarind at the Island Tropic Hotel & Restaurant that overlooks the scenic Hundred Islands. Lim, a West Pointer who was imprisoned by the now jailed former President Gloria “no longer the Excelsis” Arroyo, told me that Paulino Elevado, a P10 thousand a month worker, denied he owned the multi-million of pesos German made $118, 000 Porsche.
Elevado explained that he was asked by the owner to sell the gas guzzling luxury fast, snazzy, and zippy German car.
“It is easy to justify that somebody asked him for an errand. Everybody can buy a second hand car and retains the Certificate of Registration in the name of the seller/ owner but hide the deed of sale where buyer like Elevado deems could incriminate him. ,” I told Lim in Filipino.
Lim told us that he preferred to head the National Bureau of Investigation. He said he has limited power at the BoC as Deputy Commissioner on Intelligence.
“Custom did not achieve its P320 billion goal given by the government last year.
"Has corruption there played a major role for the collection deficit? ” I posed to him.
He qualified his answer. He said it is not really corruption but the government gave them a very high goal thus the failure to hit it after the fiscal year of 2011.
“I saw Ruffy (Biazon, the BoC’s chief and a friend during the senatorial race in 2010 with Lim in Dagupan City) at social network Face Book sporting a navy blue liked military uniform with four stars insignia planted on each of his shoulder, probably you are a three- star ranked custom official?” I posed.
Danny, a one star army general, smiled and nodded. Lim who according to his fellow Ilocano retired police Colonel Wilmer Panabang , who was with us at the dinner table, passed and topped the entrance examination of the Philippine Military Academy after studying chemical engineering at the University of the Philippines as freshman.
Then left the long gray line of my birth place at Fort del Pilar in Baguio for the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York just like former Fidel V. Ramos – the uncle of Mayor Nani.
Brig.Gen Emilio Luga, the boss of my father at the PMA in the early 1960s, described Lim as the bravest lieutenant he has ever met.
Nationalist columnist Alejandro Lichauco described Danny before as the poster boy of the moral rectitude in the Armed Forces.
“You just left PMA when I worked there in the late 1980s where my bosses there were then Captains Pol Bataoil (a two-star retired general and incumbent Pangasinan congressman, Herbert Yambing (a general now at the Provost Marshal) and my fellow Ilonggo Tony Segura , a battle scarred decorated soldier who died not from a bullet wound but to a free fall in an open pit at John Hay, Baguio City when he urinated to relieve himself during a drinking spree”.
“After graduation from West Point in 1978 his first assignment and baptism of fire was in Sulu twice,” Col. Panabang told later the 114 Valentine's Day wed couple who tied the knot at the gym of Alaminos City where Danny stood as the god father and Braganza as the solemnizing officer.
Danny was “elated” when I gave him a copy of this paper -- where the banner stories I by-lined “Probe Frozen Meat Importers - Abono”.
I told him what Abono Party list chairman Rosendo So told me lately about plain and simple technical smuggling at BoC. Eng. So said pork composed of good meats like belly and pork chops that enter the country runs to 73,202,000 kilos according to the records of Bureau of Animal Industry in 2010. But based on the record of the United Nations on that same year and with the same quality of pork that entered the country there was 105,761,459 kilo that entered the custom’s ports.
“Where did the 32,559,459 kilos go?” Eng. So posed.
He said smuggling ensued too in the importation of offal (parts of butchered pigs like chopped ears, snout, brain, and others, which are major ingredient of a popular delicacy sisig) in the country.
Eng. So cited the incredible records that haunt the importation of good meat. “Based on the BAI 2010 records, there was 105,595,096 kilos that entered the custom area.
But based on the UN records there was only 56, 447,706 kilos”.
He wondered why an increase of 105,595,096 in the importation of offal when the UN records said the country imported only 56, 447,706 kilos.
With the 13-10 votes that favor to respect the Temporary Restraining Order of the Supreme Court, Corona and the other 30 impeachable officials of the government could sleep well until the Foreign Currency Deposit Act (FCDA) is amended.
Why? Their tens of thousands U.S dollar loot they stashed through their position in the government could well be protected.
I could not fathom the wisdom of the 13 senators. They should know that the senate as an impeachment court is Sui Generis. It is not bind with the Rules of Court sanctioned by the Supreme Court as it is only suppletory to its Impeachment Rules. As what my lawyer in my libel case (O, talo kayo mi libel case na ako, he he) Atty. Nap Arenas wrote to Senator Pia Cayetano which the latter reads at the Senate’s floor Nixon vs. United States. “Mr. President I base my decision on the following:I think it is very clear to all of us that we are very young in terms of our jurisprudence when it comes to impeachment. We really have no firm cases to base our decisions upon. What we have is a Constitutional provision which states that the Senate is the body that is in charge to try all cases of impeachment. So we look to the US as we do in many, many similar cases and there is a US Supreme Court ruling, ‘Nixon vs. United States.’ In this case, Mr. President, the US federal judge was convicted of federal crimes and was sentenced to prison. After that, the House of Representatives adopted articles of impeachment and proceeded with the impeachment. He was impeached and the case was presented to the Senate.” On that case Judge Nixon questioned the Senate proceedings. It then went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court ruled that there are reasons why the judiciary has no role in impeachment. The Supreme Court stated that the framers of the Constitution recognized that there would possibly be two sets of proceedings. One would be a criminal trial, which in this case the judge faced, and an impeachment trial. And therefore the criminal trial already called for judicial interference, and in fact, judicial supremacy. But the impeachment trial called for the impeachment court to be the sole judge".
Does the Lucky 13 Senators play smart to buttress their stocks to the highest bidder before they start to vote to impeach Corona? “I voted to vote for the TRO because I could not see the day the Sangguniang Bayan and Sangguniang Panlalawigan (town and city councils) emulate the Senate by telling local courts that they could not honor too their decisions,” a young senator said. My foot, what? How could these councils emulate the senate when they don’t have mandate even if one meticulously browse the “ papel ng gawgaw” acting as a local impeachment court? "Have you read the Karen Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines?”Arrogantly posed by Senator Merriam Santiago to prosecutor Rep. Neil Tupas, Jr.
The Salvacion case was when the U.S dollar account of a convicted rapist was opened, despite the strict provision of the FCDA, to pay for the damages it has done to Karen. The Salvacion case shows that the FCDA is not an absolute law that was cast in stone. “Pro hac vice',” Merriam lectured Tupas, “is for the moment only”. It means the Salvacion Case is for the moment only “.
I disagree. Nixon vs. U.S and the provision in the Philippine Constitution says” The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment ( Section 6, Article XI 1987 Philippines Constitution). “Crystal clear,” to borrow the words of Tom Cruise on my favorite flicks the “ A Few Good Men”. It means the impeachment court is sui generis (a unique court) that is not bind with the Supreme Court.
Even if its pro-hac vice in the Salvacion case, what the ordinary people understand is “bad guys” like Corona can stash away with impunity government funds and hide under the mantle of the FCDA. What kind of law is this? ‘We don’t want a bank run where local and foreign depositors scampered away with their dollar deposit and deposit it at either in Switzerland or Singapore,” Warned by Maid Merriam who was not born with a golden spoon but instead born waving a Merriam Webster Dictionary to doctors and nurses.
What kind of argument is that? Investors are not being tried by the senate, it’s Corona as a government official. This argument is no better than the Sangguniang Bayan and Sangguniang Panlalawigan crap that would emulate the senate for them not to honor the decisions of the local courts.
Diyos ko! Ano na ba ang kasalanan namin bakit may mga senador na ganito? (You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org).