Unity of 3 branches of gov’t needed | Global News

Unity of 3 branches of gov’t needed

/ 05:45 AM February 06, 2014

Senate President Franklin Drilon: Unity. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The government needs the powers of all its three branches, not just the executive, to successfully deal with the persistent problem of smuggling in the country, Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday.

Drilon made the remark after Malacañang called on the judiciary to hasten the resolution of 157 cases of rice smuggling still pending in the Court of Appeals since 2010.


The Senate President said the executive, legislature and judiciary “must be able to move at the same fast pace in order to effectively arrest smuggling and provide justice to the farmers, who are the very victims of these unscrupulous activities.”

“The government needs to show that the full force of its powers are working against those who would conduct smuggling of rice and other commodities, and that rigorous investigations and full prosecution under the law await anyone involved in this illegal trade,” Drilon said.


“Let us go after these hoodlums by strengthening our laws, by providing assistance to our law enforcers, and by addressing the backlog of cases in our courts and ensuring a speedy delivery of justice,” he added.

Drilon vowed Congress will be relentless in its resolve “to get to the bottom of the issue in order to craft legislation and policies that would aid the government in strengthening its fight against those who seek to destroy our economy with their brazen disregard of the laws.”

The Senate committee on agriculture is in the middle of its inquiry into an alleged multimillion-peso rice-smuggling operation.

Drilon backed up Malacañang’s call on the courts to speed up the resolution of the rice-smuggling cases. He said the slow resolution of these cases was an injustice to the Filipino farmers.

“The slow disposition of smuggling related cases only results in smugglers being more brazen in carrying out their illegal activities. The speedy prosecution and resolution of smuggling cases will be the most potent warning against those who seek to violate our laws,” Drilon said.

Earlier Customs Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla decried the issuance of court injunctions against the holding rice shipments that lacked import permits.

“Our intelligence [division] personnel are risking their lives to get information that will allow us to seize [shipments] and then the courts are going to issue injunctions just like that,” Sevilla complained.


Sevilla, however, did not explain why the bureau has been suffering setbacks in courts and admitted that there were also “flaws in Bureau of Customs (BOC) processes,”

Sources in the BOC had alleged that up to P6 billion was lost from government coffers because of the connivance of customs personnel themselves.

Earlier, too, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima lamented the difficulties her department faced in investigating an alleged rice smuggler who went by the alias “David Tan” because no one in the BOC, the suspected brokers circle and even farmers’ cooperatives would cooperate and give testimony.

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TAGS: Congress, Executive, Judiciary, unity
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