Testing SC’s credibility: Espinosa killing calls to mind ‘Ma’am Arlene’
2 judges in hot water over Espinosa killing,” read an Inquirer report on Nov. 13, 2016. The Supreme Court was said to have ordered the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to investigate Regional Trial Court Judge Tarcelo Sabarre Jr. of Samar for issuing search warrants against a person already in jail, and Judge Carlos Arguelles of Leyte for failing to act with dispatch on an “urgent motion” to transfer accused Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. to a “safer” prison.
Many pundits believe that had Judge Sabarre known his law better, the jail raiders who killed Espinosa would have had no “legal excuse” to barge into his cell. Likewise, had Judge Arguelles not dawdled too long on that pending incident, those raiders would have found his cell empty.
From a layman’s point of view, those are really, really simple facts to determine and to come up with a conclusion—in just a few days’ or a week’s time. It has been more than two months and yet the OCA seems to be still facing a blank wall. Not a squeak has been heard from it to give the public an inkling about the fate of those two incompetent judges.
Which reminds us: Whatever happened to the Supreme Court’s “investigation” into the shenanigans of that notorious “Ma’am Arlene” who was said to be in the business of brokering the sale of court decisions? Inquirer reported on Aug. 1, 2014: “The high court had initiated the “Ma’am Arlene” probe after revelations that a newspaper columnist made last year about a woman who apparently wielded influence over appellate and lower-court judges in exchange for financing their lavish parties and travels.”
But up to now, that “Arlene” is still at large and unknown—and may still be peddling decisions to the highest bidder.
If those matters of extreme importance—going as they do into the very heart and integrity of our justice system—could take years to resolve (if at all), imagine the fate of less important things like the thousands of unresolved cases in the Supreme Court, involving people without influence whatsoever or of no consequence at all. Is 10 or more years really “normal” time for such cases to see the light of day?
JANNO M. MONTECRISTO, [email protected]
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