Unsolicited advice to Lacson

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima should hold her punches against Sen. Panfilo Lacson who was cleared by the Court of Appeals of the 2000 Dacer-Corbito murders.

The senator who has been hiding since January 2010 was deterred to come out of hiding after his acquittal because of the statement of De Lima that the CA verdict is not yet final and executory and therefore the senator can still be thrown in to jail unless the court that issued the arrest warrant withdraws it.

While De Lima is just following the letter the law, it has been the practice however in our jurisdiction to set aside the arrest warrant and stop completely the pursuit of the accused who happened to be Lacson in this case.

Lacson is correct in saying the Supreme Court is the sole authority to reverse the CA in its ruling but wrong in asserting that he can’t be arrested, again unless the court of origin (Manila court) withdraw the arrest warrant against him.

Lacson being an elected senator of the Republic should be allowed by the state to perform his sworn duties and obligations to the electorate who voted him. Lacson deserves a liberal interpretation of laws and legal practices.

Another problem Lacson has to confront even after the arrest warrant is withdrawn by the lower court is the possibility of Lacson being charged again for the same offense.

As Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda who is a lawyer rightly put it, the principle of double jeopardy can’t be applied in the case of Lacson because the senator has not been arraigned yet before the Manila Trial Court.

It must be noted that arraignment is one of the elements for the principle of  double jeopardy to set in.

If we were Lacson, we will come out in the open now and face the charges of twin murders on his alleged involvement in the murder of publicist Salvador Dacer and his companion Emmanuel Orbito in November 2000.

This time Lacson has the fighting chance not to be confined in detention cell while his case is being heard in court.

This is so because murder is bailable when the evidence of guilt is weak. Note that this was the finding of CA against the senator when the high court cited inconsistencies in the statement of policeman-witness Cesar Mancao.- Cornelio de Guzman

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