‘Perverse ruling’ used by plunderers
Allow me to comment on Artemio Panganiban’s column, “More questions on Imelda’s conviction” (12/9/18), which pointed out the fact that it was then Associate Justice (now Chief Justice) Lucas Bersamin who invented a “new” (i.e., previously unheard of) doctrine that led to the acquittal of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in a plunder case.
Bersamin practically junked the settled rule in criminal law that the “act of one is the act of all” and therefore it is irrelevant to determine who the “mastermind” and the mere gofers are in a charge of conspiracy.
As Panganiban said, that perverse ruling is now “binding jurisprudence in plunder cases” — which looters of the people’s money are now invoking in their own cases with alacrity.
The former chief justice may have missed one more fact. That same Bersamin decision set aside an elementary rule in the Rules of Court promulgated by the Supreme Court itself which EXPLICITLY PROHIBITS review of any trial court’s ruling denying a demurrer to the evidence.
That rule requires the accused to proceed presenting his/her own defense pronto.
Arroyo’s lawyer, Estelito Mendoza, went straight to the Supreme Court to seek review of the Sandiganbayan ruling finding sufficient evidence to convict her and therefore denying her demurrer.
Bersamin, who incidentally was appointed to the Supreme Court by Arroyo, seemed to have obliged happily.
ROMANO M. MONTENEGRO, email@example.com
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