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Old fogies never die

We do not know whether senility, stupidity or both is catching up on Fidel Ramos. Raising the issues again about the alleged ill-gotten wealth and the assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. have been rendered passé principally because of the gross incompetence of those who were supposed to bring out the truth and have been hooting justice on our behalf.

It was an indication that something is terribly wrong with the man who failed to prevent the commission of that anticipated murder of Ninoy. His incompetence is incomparable when he started blaming others for what happened. In fact, he is the only President who layered his incompetence with ineptitude when he failed to solve the double murder case during his term despite the holler of protest against his election due to massive fraud.

To begin with, no person in his right mind would confess to a crime he did not commit. More so if there is no evidence linking him. It is not only a violation of his fundamental right to remain silent, but also of his right to be presumed innocent. It is the duty of the prosecutors to independently gather, collect and present the evidence in court where the person stands as accused so to give him the opportunity to rebut all the allegations against him.

In his nonsensical ranting, Ramos is asking the former first lady Imelda Marcos to tell the truth about the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. Indeed, such is symptomatic that he could no longer distinguish his left from his right hand. As the chief of the defunct Philippine Constabulary, his principal duty was to prevent the assassination. Ramos cannot coyly point the blame for his failure to somebody else, more so if the person he is accusing is his sworn political enemy.

Logic will tell that if only Ramos diligently did his job in preventing the assassination, he would not now be asking Rep. Imelda Marcos to confess in what many could see as his clever ploy to whitewash his ineptitude. For one, how did Galman manage to penetrate the restricted area at the Manila International Airport to kill Ninoy, who himself was gunned down, is a question Ramos, as the chief of PC, alone can answer.

Ramos compounded his stupidity when he became president. Identifying who assassinated Ninoy was a formidable task. Instead, he allowed all the agencies of the government to carry out the investigation while he, as the top cop then, was having his sweet time chomping his unlighted cigar.

The sequence of events in relation to this career indicates that as chief of PC, his duty was to prevent the commission of the crime. When he became president, his duty revolved in identifying the killer and the mastermind so they could be brought to court. Alas on both counts, Ramos miserably failed.

We emphasize this because people know that Galman did not personally know or was an acquaintance of Ninoy, or much more had a personal grudge against the former senator. What the people now believe is that Ninoy was murdered because the perpetrators assumed that his violent death could trigger an avalanche of adverse public reaction that would lead to the downfall of the Marcos government.

This theory, which in fact happened, is more logical than what Ramos is insinuating. As president, he had all the resources at his disposal to carry out a thorough investigation. Instead, he is doing a childish game of finger pointing. His failure to solve the case during his administration undeniably speaks of the gravity of his incompetence; that for him, to open his mouth now on this issue could all the more make him appear ridiculous and stupid.

On the issue of ill-gotten wealth, the case has been lying there for more than 30 years, and the PCGG which was created to purposely recover them continues to hang on. It seems that he wants to apply the same naive formula by demanding from Imelda Marcos to tell all about their so-called “hidden wealth.” What is evident is that the PCGG or presidential-good-for-nothing commission continues to flaunt its powers even if it has legally ceased to exist after the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution because the man named Fidel Ramos extended its lease of life by creating the Sequestered Assets Disposition Authority in December, 1993 but exercising the same powers and functions as the PCGG.

Ramos should ask himself why the presidential-good-for-nothing commission managed to recover a total of P170 billion of the alleged ill-gotten wealth yet failed to make a single conviction against any of the Marcoses or their alleged cronies. He must bear in mind that the issue no longer revolves on the recovery of the alleged ill-gotten wealth, but on his credibility. He even failed to justify why the PCGG convicted the money (just to get hold of it), and not the alleged owners of the deposit to justify the connection between the illegal acts they committed and the sequestration of their deposits.

Even if we give it that there is validity in the claim of Ramos about the alleged ill-gotten wealth, time has lapsed that all cases involving their recovery should now be dismissed for failure to prosecute. This prohibition stems from the time-honored principle known as “estoppel by laches,” that the government can be prevented from pursuing a case due to its own negligence or failure to prosecute the case for such an unreasonable period of time.

Ramos should instead answer what happened to the proceeds in the sale of Fort Bonifacio, the PEA-Amari deal, the billions of pesos wasted for that flop Centennial Expo and the privatization of many government assets which all took place under his all-but sloganeering administration. While it may be preposterous to say that the funds evaporated, he cannot deny that his administration accomplished nothing to justify his braggadocio in disposing of those prime properties reserved for our soldiers and their families. The loquacious Cold War warrior only exposed himself unnecessarily as a dud, or to say it in the vernacular–mintis!

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Topics: Rod Kapunan , Old fogies never die , Fidel Ramos , ill-gotten wealth , assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino , Jr.
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