Press Release
January 12, 2009

Leave of absence won't put closure to bribery allegations

Malacañang's directive requiring all justice officials and state prosecutors implicated in the alleged drug bribery scandal to take a leave of absence will not help solve the issue, Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today said.

Gordon said that while he respects President Arroyo's decision to let officials and prosecutors implicated in the scandal go on leave, the move may only cause demoralization among those who were "merely accused" and yet to be proven guilty..

"Taking a leave of absence would not put closure on allegations of bribery but rather, extend unfairly the same allegations. Worse, it might cause demoralization among the ranks of our able and honest government prosecutors," he said.

In the heat of discussions on the controversial release order for the so-called "Alabang Boys", the President has ordered all justice officials and state prosecutors accused of being bribed into dropping charges against drug suspects to take a leave of absence.

Gordon said the directive would serve more as punishment for officials and prosecutors before they are proven guilty, and could only cause undue harm to those who were only faithfully doing their job.

He added that like in any case, it is important to prove first that a person had indeed committed something irregular before he is meted an order that would appear as if he is already guilty.

He said that the directive for the forced leave of absence would demoralize not only those who are included in the order but also other prosecutors and officials who may think that doing their jobs properly and faithfully is not enough.

"Let the investigation take its due course where all evidence are gathered and thoroughly evaluated. Otherwise, we might unduly cause irreparable harm to the good name of those who are unjustly and wrongly accused," Gordon said.

The senator added that the important thing to do is for the police to have effective law enforcement training among their agents, especially among military men who are tasked to do police work, so that they may be well aware on how they should enforce the law.

He also said that the country's ever-growing problem on illegal drugs could be solved if a deadline is imposed on the proper investigation, prosecution and conviction on drug-related cases.

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