And who is afraid of Virginia Torres?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - September 23, 2015 - 10:00am

We do not know this woman who seems to be very influential as to have the temerity to allegedly attempt to go herself to the Bureau of Customs to exert some influence in connection with multi-million worth of smuggled rice allegedly.She was there  supposedly for the release of sixty-four ( 64 ) shipping containers of reportedly smuggled Thai sugar worth no less than one hundred million pesos, as reported by a national daily broadsheet. But we know by numerous news reports that she used to be a top LTO official who is very close to the President. She was also the same lady who was caught by camera gambling supposedly inside a casino while she was still a public official.

We do not care whether Virginia Torres is a shooting buddy of P Noy. That by itself is not a crime. Friendship is neither illegal nor immoral. But what concerns us is that she seems to be enjoying some sort of great influence that in her rather controversial visit to the Bureau of Customs, she was, in fact, escorted by a Bureau official. Not every former public official would have the privilege of being escorted by a customs official. What worries us is that the Department of Justice has remained mysteriously silent, given such an attempt that might have bordered on violations of law. Senator Chiz Escudero and Representative Neric Colmenares immediately issued statements that Torres should at least be investigated.

This is precisely the point that must be clearly explained by the government. Why are the government agencies like the DOJ, the NBI, the Ombudsman, the LP dominated Senate and other offices too quick and too unforgiving when it comes to opposition politicians and other officials, like Chief Justice Renato Corona,  Vice President Jojo Binay, PGMA, Senator JPE, etc while seemingly too slow, too considerate, too soft on the likes of General Alan Purisima, Customs Commissioner Bert Lina, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad who was on top of the DAP and PDAP, and now Virginia Torres? This is precisely the point: Is there really compartmentalized justice in this country?

Why is the President not lifting a finger to require his friend Torres to explain her visit to the Customs Bureau ? Why is there no law-enforcement agency that raises an issue of propriety or ethics ? Why is there a conspiracy of silence ? Are we all afraid of Virginia Torres ? Are we concerned that if we touch Torres we would be catching the ire of Malacañan? Why are the voices of Escudero and Colmenares the only ones who articulate the prevailing sentiments of the Filipino people? The President, above all else, should explain if the action of his friend Torres is consistent with the tenets of ''DAANG MATUWID''?

Perhaps the fact that P Noy is really loyal to his close friends is also the Achilles' heel of his administration. He seems to be very harsh at people deemed enemies,or not considered as friends and allies, even vengeful, if we may say so, with all due respect. He does not mince words in castigating people, even career officers who are scolded in public and via national television. But when it comes to people very close to him, like his DOTC Secretary, Joseph Abaya who had the temerity to say rather sarcastically that the traffic in EDSA is not fatal, and his MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino who spends much time in the provinces rather than focus on his job, the President is mysteriously silent.

History will judge this President as the one whose loyalty to the people ends where his loyalty to his friends begins. We do not know who really is Virginia Torres. What we know and what matters most to us is that Torres is the symbol of the President's value system. Friends first, the country next. Is this what Mar Roxas wants to continue ?

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com

BUDGET SECRETARY FLORENCIO ABAD BUREAU OF CUSTOMS CHIEF JUSTICE RENATO CORONA CUSTOMS BUREAU CUSTOMS COMMISSIONER BERT LINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ESCUDERO AND COLMENARES FRANCIS TOLENTINO P NOY TORRES VIRGINIA TORRES
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