Thursday, August 7, 2014

Benguet's Public Prosecutors Not Up To Par With What's Expected From Them?

[Opinion] - In her most recent piece for The Manila Times, Ma. Isabel Ongpin didn't mince words in asserting that public lawyers who act for government to punish lawbreakers are often lacking in expertise and ethical behavior. She came up with this statement in the context of the legal process surrounding the cases filed against Baguio City Congressman Nicasio Aliping Jr. It can be recalled that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Baguio Water District have filed charges against the solon and three construction firms in their alleged involvement in the cutting of trees and excavation of the earth in a watershed at Mt. Kabuyao, Tuba.

The charges were filed during the first week of June but on the last week of July, the Benguet Prosecutors Office inhibited themselves from the cases. Their reasons for the inhibition raised more questions than answers. Why did it take them so long to distance themselves given the "simplicity" of their reasons for inhibition? It took one of them more than a month to realize that his wife is related to one of the contractors? The extended time it took them to come up with this excuse notwithstanding, it's still "flimsy" as Ongpin put it.

The stalling, the lies, the unwarranted inhibitions, and the incompetency of some government officials have turned the Mount Santo Tomas issue into an embarrassing circus. Meanwhile, the residents of Baguio City and Tuba continue to receive the bad end of the stick. What with the polluted water springs and looming further damage because of the opened wounds on the slopes of Mt. Kabuyao.
Screengrab of Ongpin's article.