Why did I say so?
September 20, 2008, Richard Brodett, 25, Jorge Joseph, 23, and Joseph Tecson, 22, (the Alabang Boys) were arrested by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for possession of marijuana, cocaine and Ecstasy.
December 2, 2008, Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuno issued a resolution releasing the Alabang Boys.
PDEA did not release the Alabang Boys.
On December 19, 2008, Undersecretary of Justice Ricardo Blancaflor called Major Ferdinand Marcelino, the head of the PDEA team that arrested the Alabang Boys, asking “Pasko na, bakit hindi pa ninyo ni-re-release?” .
Major Marcelino informed Undersecretary Blancaflor that the reason why they did not release the Alabang Boys is because the release resolution is subject to automatic review by the Secretary of Justice. In short, the resolution could not be implemented without the approval of the Secretary of Justice Gonzalez.
Since Justice Secretary Gonzalez denied receiving the resolution he was supposed to review and therefore could not approve or deny it, the PDEA indeed could not release the Alabang Boys.
To expedite the process, Alabang Boys lawyer Felisberto Verano talked to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez about the situation. Afterwards, he drafted the release order under the letterhead of the Department of Justice, sealed the draft in an envelope, and sent it on December 23, 2008 to Secretary Raul Gonzales through Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor. The document was received by Janet Payoyo, secretary of Undersecretary Blancaflor.
Blancaflor instructed Payoyo to refer the matter to State Prosecutor John Resado.
John Resado told Payoyo it was alright to send the draft to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez.
Under the circumstances above mentioned, we can theorize the following:
It was Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez who instructed Alabang Boys lawyer Felisberto Verano to draft the order of release. Or, Atty. Verano suggested it to Secretary of Justice Gonzalez who approved the same. For why would Atty. Verano have, and where would he obtain the courage and the authority to draft (when he was not the Secretary’s secretary) the release order using the letter head of the Justice Department? When the draft resolution was received by Undersecretary’s secretary Janet Payoyo, Atty. Verano informed her he alsready talked with Justice Secretary Gonzalaez about it. “When I asked secretary Gonzalez, he said he had indeed talked to Attorney Verano…” said Undersecretary Blancaflor. A fact confirmed by Secretary of Justice Gonzalez himself.
If this is the case, why did the document have to pass through Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor when it could have been sent directly to the Secretary of Justice who would sign it to release the Alabang Boys? And why should an Undersecretary of Justice refer it (document) to a State Prosecutor John Resado?
I can think of only one logical explanation for this: before it reaches Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez who would execute the final act, the document must first pass through Blancaflor, and from Blancaflor to Zuno through Resado, because it is only through this simple method they can say they were involved (except for Zuno who had already issued the December 2 resolution) and can therefore claim their reward. That is, assuming that the Alabang Boys were arrested and their belongings (drugs) seized legally. If it were otherwise, and, let’s just say I were the lawyer for the Alabang Boys, I would have done what Atty. Verano did to help his clients. I would even go further by delivering the document in Iloilo to Justice Secretary Gonzalez for his signature in his house where I am sure he spent his Christmas vacation. And, assuming further I were Justice Secretary Gonzalez, I would not mind confirming the release order because our constitution is a libertarian constitution. To paraphrase a Supreme Court decision, our constitution would favor one hundred guilty persons escape imprisonment than incarcerating an innocent one.
After the seizure and arrest are confirmed valid, the investigation on the Alabang Boys bribery scandal should focus on Secretary Gonzalez, Undersecretary Blancaflor, State Prosecutor Resado, and Cheif State Prosecutor Zuno. Otherwise, we should apologize to these people and the family of the Alabang Boys for the anxiety we have caused them for messing with their names, and spunk our PDEA, particularly its head Dionisio Santiago, so that it will learn to do its job correctly next time.