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On Arroyo, Bolante acquittals: Bar gets lower for ordinary mortals

12:57 AM January 11, 2017

This refers to the letter of Margie Librando titled “Getting away with plunder” (Opinion, 1/6/17) where she wrote about the acquittal of former president Gloria Arroyo and Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante in the plunder cases filed against them for lack of sufficient proof that they actually received any part of the stolen public funds.

Librando has forgotten that under our criminal justice system, proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is required. Therefore, since the Ombudsman failed to show conclusive proof that Arroyo and Bolante actually pocketed any of the funds in question, their acquittal followed quite logically.

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Everyone else has forgotten, too, that there is ancient jurisprudence that allows the presumption that he who is the holder of a falsified document is deemed the author of that falsification—despite absence of proof that he actually is.  Thus, by analogy, he who is entrusted with some money that went missing must necessarily be held liable for its loss.  It is simply silly to require proof that he actually stashed it someplace for his own profit before he can be convicted of malversation.

Everyone knows how almost impossible it is to establish the nexus between the crime and its mastermind.  Layers upon layers of patsies and gofers keep the big boss too far removed from the deed. And where the high and the mighty are involved, circumstantial evidence and common sense are never good enough.

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But the bar does get lowered many notches when the ones on the dock are ordinary mortals. So, is there such a double standard of justice in this country?  Only one born yesterday needs an answer to that.

ROGELIO S. CANDELARIO, [email protected]

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TAGS: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Joc-joc Bolante, plunder
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