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When Justices Do The ‘Perp Walk’: CA Bribery Scandal Probe Begins

August 8, 2008

With due credits to my good friend Vic Agustin , columnist and Editorial Board chief of the Manila Standard Today, I’d like to repost his thoroughly informative report on the start of the Sumpreme Court investigation into the brbery scandal at the Court of Appeals over the GSIS-MERALCO-SEC case

Vic tells it best:

“EGO was the first casualty on the first day of the public hearing into the alleged bribery attempt involving the Court of Appeals justices.
The eight implicated justices were not only striped of their robes and seated in a row reserved for litigants, but had to undergo a local version of what the US police and media call the “perp [perpetrator] walk” through a phalanx of press people with their harsh TV lights and blinding camera flashes.
The Supreme Court’s training room, a former corner garage, was spruced up to look like a court house, with the three retired Supreme Court justices hearing the administrative case given a platform to raise their desks.
Directly in front and below them were the eight appellate justices, their backs exposed, unaided by counsels, and with no secretaries or support clerks that they have been accustomed to in their respective courts.
The perp walk, and the sudden turn of fortune, proved too much for Justice Apolinario Bruselas Jr., who bewailed his inclusion, a remark that he immediately withdrew, in an uncharacteristic apologetic tone,  after retired SC Justice Romeo Callejo Sr. shot back, “You signed the ponencia. You wrote to the PJ [presiding justice]. Don’t be surprised that you are called here.”
Despite the high-stakes game, no lawyer of note was seen among the capacity crowd,  many of them court personnel witnessing for the first time their bosses at the receiving end of an inquisition.
Even self-admitted unsolicited Meralco broker, Francis Roa de Borja, arrived without a counsel, unable, according to the grapevine, to find one of stature who is not retained by the Manila Electric Co. or the Lopezes, the Government Service Insurance System, and, more important, willing to tangle with the Court of Appeals.
Among the sea of nameless nobodies, actress Gloria Diaz easily stood out as the lone publicly-recognizable face, and was eagerly sought out by the competing TV crew desperate for the appropriate sound bite.
“I just came to watch and listen,” came the quick reply.
Unable to hold off her tart tongue, the former Miss Universe then added, after being asked who was she for, “I am looking for that P50 million!”
(The beauty queen actually played chaperon to her elder sister Ruby, who is married to a Roa, and two sisters of De Borja who were also in the audience.)”

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