Hoodlums in robes

NOT too long ago, Gov. Amado Espino Jr. minced no words when he criticized the judiciary for harboring “Hoodlums in Robes” (HIR) who are obviously in the pockets of drug syndicates. He cited the number of drug cases being dismissed for the smallest technicality even as he acknowledged that law enforcers do suffer lapses in the build up of cases.

Corruption in the courts has been a running secret among lawyers, alas, only a few have been snared and exposed for what they were. Today, in all Justices Hall, it is said that prosecutors and lawyers signal each other with mischievous winks when they are faced with a notorious judge who would have no qualms about selling a decision to the highest bidder, regardless of the merits of the case. The continued presence of these corrupt judges known to legal practitioners remains one of the biggest obstacles to winning the war vs. drug syndicates. No wonder the phrase “Hoodlums in Robes” coined by then Vice President Erap Estrada continues to gain traction in the legal circle.

It was, therefore, encouraging to hear Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno exhorting members of the Philippine Bar Association last year to help the Supreme Court in purging the judiciary of the so-called “hoodlums in robes.” She gave an assurance that the Supreme Court will act promptly and that “the axe will fall on whoever deserves it, even if it falls close to us.” Then came the dismissal and filing of charges vs. Sandiganbayan Justice Gregory Ong over the Napoles scandal.

We can only pray that there will be more lawyers and litigants who are privy to the corruption of judges that would have the courage to expose the HIR, particularly, those that protect the interests of drug lords and financiers. To date, we have not heard of any major drug personality that has been given his due by the courts and society, particularly not in Pangasinan.


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Money talks

EVEN as Manny Pacquiao failed to knock Chris Algieri out on Nov. 23 in Macau, the luster in the Pacquiao name remains shiningly bright as ever.  Look, Algieri was a total mismatch against the Filipino ring icon but still, Pacquiao would still command no less than P1 billion in that fight.  Patsy or not being ranged against Pacquiao, it won’t matter.  Pacquiao alone would draw a sellout crowd every time he climbed the ring.  Now, include Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the mix.  Result?  No less than $300 million is being projected in the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.

Thus, what’s happening is, even if Pacquiao has stopped knocking out his foes for nearly 6 years now, the landscape hasn’t changed one bit.  A Pacquiao fight will always mean the cash register ringing so noisily.

So, why would anyone even entertain talks about Pacquiao retiring now?  Out of tune.

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