Is Justice Secretary Alfredo “Ben” Caguioa up to the job of filling Leila de Lima’s shoes?
We cannot overemphasize the immense expectation that came with him taking over the Department of Justice (DOJ) where De Lima had done a herculean job amid massive controversies, dispensing with high-profile and politically-charged cases.
With barely six months left till Noynoy Aquino’s term expires, the question is: Will Caguioa give a satisfactory conclusion to this administration’s “legacy of justice?”
De Lima became a hot prospective senatoriable in May 2016 owing to her sterling performance as Justice Secretary since 2010.
Well, it’s been a month since the President designated his classmate at Ateneo as De Lima’s successor, and we are still waiting for him to deliver on his promises.
There’s not a tinge of corruption in De Lima’s stewardship of DOJ.
Early on, Caguioa pledged to “go after known smugglers with pending cases” at DOJ but we have not heard of any such known smugglers being charged.
Instead, we’ve heard some smugglers and all sorts of crooks showing up again at DOJ as they did during the Arroyo administration.
A group of smugglers reportedly has a ranking state counsel at DOJ for “padrino,” and they had been involved in blackmailing and extortion activities, victimizing foreign investors, since the Arroyo administration.
They are now working up Caguioa to get him to appoint their partners in crime to key positions at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) as well as the DOJ.
Just recently, the same group was involved in a multi-million peso extortion case involving a prominent Korean businessman.
Due to these scalawags’ activities, even the good name of De Lima has been dragged into the controversy, which I hope won’t jeopardize her senatorial bid.
In a case filed at the Office of the Ombudsman, Kang Tae Sik, 71, president of Jinro Phils., alleged that he has been subjected to harassment, extortion and business sabotage over 20 years by his own former counsels Alex Tan and Roberto Federis, along with their DOJ and BI cohort.
Disbarment cases against Tan and Federis are pending before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for allegedly setting up Kang on a bouncing check case.
Backed by their DOJ padrino, the two pressed a deportation case against Kang, at the same time allegedly demanding P50 million.
My BI sources said the DOJ padrino had asked for P10 million in advance.
The case has caused outrage among the Korean community, Korean church groups and Korean Embassy officials, as well as the local business sector to which Kang, a top-Makati taxpayer, has been a prominent member for almost 30 years.
Tan and Federis allegedly have also been involved in “misdeclaring” or “under-declaring” imported beverages and other products from Korea, informants at the Bureau of Customs.
I’m wondering if Sec. Caguioa is even aware that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been looking into their alleged smuggling activities at Aduana.
So, is DOJ now a haven for crooks?
I sure hope that Caguioa was not born yesterday, and will be able to do justice to his six-month stint at DOJ!
Illegal vendors, fire hazard
Concerned residents along P. Guevarra corner Fugoso, and Sulu Streets near Central Market, in Sta. Cruz, Manila are complaining about the “disappearing” streets now completely occupied by illegal vendors, who block vehicular traffic including responding fire trucks in the neighborhood and Fabella Hospital.
Tens of thousands of pesos in “weekly tong” are collected by local authorities as protection in this area alone.
We would like to call the attention of Interior Secretary Senen Sarmiento, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ricardo Marquez regarding the residents’ problems.
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