The untouchable Chavit Singson
There’s no question that corrupt officials should be removed. Malacañang said there are no sacred cows. Really? Read this story by Norman Bordadora in the Inquirer.
THE Ombudsman has in its dockets at least nine criminal and administrative complaints against Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson, according to a letter from the Special Prosecutor to the Senate.
They include two administrative cases for graft and a criminal complaint of plunder, Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio wrote in a letter he sent last December to Sen. Franklin Drilon, chair of the Senate finance committee.
Villa-Ignacio wrote the letter, dated Dec. 19, 2006, to comply with a request from opposition Sen. Jinggoy Estrada during deliberations on the Ombudsman’s budget for the antigraft agency to furnish the Senate with a status report on Singson’s cases before it.
It was Singson’s explosive revelations that led to the impeachment and popular uprising that unseated President Joseph Estrada, the father of the senator. Singson, then a known crony of the senior Estrada, blew the whistle on the ex-President’s alleged links with illegal gambling and bribe-taking. He was the government’s main witness in the plunder trial of the deposed President.
The letter was furnished to the Inquirer by lawyer Estelita Cordero, leader of the Save Ilocos Sur Alliance Foundation, a group that is opposed to Singson. Cordero is herself a complainant in some of the cases against the Ilocos Sur governor.
According to the Villa-Ignacio letter, three cases against Singson—one for plunder and two for graft cases—were dismissed by former Ombudsman Aniano Desierto and Overall Deputy Ombudsman Margarito Gervacio in 2002. But there are pending motions for consideration from the complainants on all three cases.
Sisa, the group that Cordero leads, and Estrada partisans accused the Ombudsman of acting on the Singson cases with deliberate slowness.
“The Ombudsman must look into these cases with eyes covered like Lady Justice. Let the sword fall without fear or favor on whoever has to answer for the wanton abuse and misuse of the people’s money,” Cordero said.
The plunder charge against Singson was filed in December 2001 for unliquidated cash advances amounting to P596 million. The case was dismissed by Gervacio in 2002.
A complaint for graft for the allegedly overpriced purchase of a P26-million lot by the Ilocos Sur government in Santa town was dismissed by Desierto, also in 2002.
Gervacio also dismissed a graft case in connection with the alleged ghost purchase of a backhoe worth P9.5 million.
“How much was the amount involved in [Iloilo Gov. Niel] Tupas’ case? P20,000? P65,000? All these cases against the dismissed officials pale in comparison with the cases against Chavit Singson,” Cordero said