Press Release
December 17, 2007

Pia slams gov't 'flip-flops' on anti-subversion law revival, Jalosjos pardon

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today criticized the Arroyo administration's habit of issuing "confusing public pronouncements," describing it as an underhanded attempt by government officials to push controversial policies that go against the people's interest.

Cayetano is referring to the recent pronouncement of President Arroyo that she planned to revive the anti-subversion law. Prior to this, reports have indicated the possible granting of pardon by the President to convicted rapist former Rep. Romeo Jalosjos before the year ends.

Both pronouncements were denied by Malacanang after receiving flaks from various quarters.

"You'll hear the President and her top executive officials making a controversial policy statement one day, only to hear them withdraw it the following day - but not after receiving negative reactions and condemnation from different sectors," Cayetano maintained.

"This constant flip-flopping especially on major policy issues indicates a lack of coordination between government agencies, or worse, underhanded attempts by this administration to push controversial policies that go against the people's interest," she added.

Cayetano vowed to oppose any measure in the Senate seeking to revive the anti-subversion law, which she described as an oppressive measure that can be used by state agents to silence government critics including the opposition, political activists and even members of the media.

"The President herself should publicly disown her earlier endorsement of the House bill reviving the anti-subversion law. She should not just leave the matter for her underlings to troubleshoot."

The decades-old social conflict cannot be resolved by reviving the draconian methods of Martial Law but by sincerely addressing its social roots, she added.

At the same time, Cayetano questioned the conflicting pronouncements of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the real date of eligibility for pardon of former Rep. Jalosjos.

BuCor Director Ricardo Dapat earlier set Jalosjos' release yesterday, Dec. 16. DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzales, however, said his initial "re-computation" indicated the former lawmaker won't be eligible for release until April 2009.

Even then, Cayetano noted that Sec. Gonzales was also quoted as saying that Pres. Arroyo's commutation order meant Jalosjos would be released only when he reaches 70 years old...but that won't happen until August 2010.

"Why the confusion over the pardon dates for Jalosjos? Doesn't the BuCor coordinate with the DOJ, and the latter with the Office of the President? Isn't there any existing, clear-cut policy on this matter? If anything, the conflicting statements indicate a sly attempt to rush his release for political expediency."

Cayetano said she does not question the power of the President to pardon and commute sentences of convicted prisoners, but maintained that the Arroyo administration owes the pubic an explanation on its policies on pardon and commutation of prison sentences.

News Latest News Feed