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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Gonzalez's Tortiously Criminal Mind

In an article published in the Inquirer, Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez claimed that ABS CBN should be held liable for the stampede that caused the death of so many civilians. Essentially, he is quoted as saying that ABS is guilty of reckless imprudence resulting to death, that “Death is proof of liability”

If there is one official that should not speak in sound bytes, it is the Justice Secretary. Also, as the official obliged to give legal opinion to the Executive Branch, his role is not to incite public anger with statements meant to assign guilt without due process and to threaten a class suit litigation.

Certainly, there was no intent on the part of ABS to foment or cause such a tragedy. A person in his right mind therefore would pause and weigh the tragic event in the series of circumstances that took place immediately before the stampede, and not put the cart before the horse by concluding hastily the culpability of ABS. An investigation must be objectively conducted to determine the proximate and remote causes of the tragedy.

Responsibility, if any, must be laid before the perpetrators of the act and that may include ABS but since the latter is the giant fish in the water, the Justice Secretary preempted the investigation and deemed it expedient to score points with the people in total disregard for an objective investigation into the tragedy.

As Justice Secretary, he ought to have exercised sobriety and called the people to wait for the investigation to play out. It is not his bounden duty to excite the people to further rage and bloodletting. Neither is it his vocation to puff himself up at the expense of others.

But as it is, he has already pre-judged the outcome and certainly, in his lawbook, ABS is already guilty of tort and reckless imprudence. It is only a matter of when, and not if, before we see Gabby Lopez, Charo Santos-Concio and Willie Revillame haled before the City Prosecutor’s Office or the Department of Justice to exact someone's pound of flesh. To bait fist withal, if it will feed nothing else, it will certainly feed this government' s revenge on ABS-CBN.

And I never realized that ABS CBN had an obligation similar to a common carrier such as boats, planes and public utility vehicles which are required to exercise extraordinary diligence. In law, a common carrier is presumed to be negligent when death occurs. When exactly did ABS CBN end as a TV station and commence life as a common carrier? And what Supreme Court jurisprudence did Mr. Gonzalez possibly unearth to justify his claim that death is proof of liability in case of a TV program.

As Justice Secretary, he should be called to task for his irresponsible statements. As a high government official, people look to his opinion as gospel truth, no matter whether his claims are unsupported by law and jurisprudence. With callous statements designed to further aggravate the people's angst and pathos, many will look to him for justification to vent their rage and now that he has prejudged ABS, he has just intensified the clone wars between the TV stations. Even Executive Secretary Ermita admirably held his tongue when asked who was to blame for the tragedy.

Would it have been better for the Justice Secretary to keep his mouth shut while an investigation is pending? Most certainly. Unfortunately, Justice Secretary Gonzalez is not known for prudence or calm. He is one who will not hesitate to fan the flames of bigotry and deceit. And for the life of me, why he is the Justice Secretary is beyond my mortal understanding.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's why he was placed there. He shoots first, thinks later (if he thinks at all).

8:27 AM  
Blogger acidboy said...

haha! gonzales is a loose cannon and an intellectual midget. every cabinet has somebody people loved to hate: teddyboy in gma's time, almonte in fvr's, mike toledo in erap's... personally, i wouldn't put to much weight on his words cause they aren't backed up with action anyway...

still, i believe abs-cbn has responsibility in this. they were placing cameras outside, and drumming up news reports about how the ultra is getting crowded for days on end! this they're doing to drum up more people to go there. rina david said it nicely, these people were INVITED to go there.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pero hindi po ba ginusto din ng mga taong yun ang pumunta dun at gawin yun? dahil ba mahihirap sila wala na silang own will? dahil ba mahihirap (di pala lahat ng andun mahihirap) sila di na tayo dapat mag expect ng disiplina from them? iniisip ko rin, kung yung mga nasawi (God bless them) ay nasa may likuran, would they have pushed as well? if we keep portraying the poor (less fortunate, needY) as victims, then they'll always feel that way and never fight (work) for themselves. di naman po ako anti poor at i don't mean to disrespect those who died but i can't help but question, ganun na ba kababa ang responsibilidad at disiplina nating mga pilipino?

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, Raul Gonzalez should really be the Justice Secretary; who is his boss anyway?

10:17 PM  
Blogger acidboy said...

to anonymous:


12:45 PM  

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