How power can be used/misused

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

The arrest of one Clifford de los Reyes, son of Talisay City Mayor Johnny de los Reyes, is a microcosm of how political influence and power can be used by high officials in our country. According to the news item contained in this paper, The Freeman, in its Thursday, January 28, 2016, issue, de los Reyes was arrested a day before in the office of the Talisay City mayor. What did that report indicate!

1. The issuance of a warrant of arrest is a judicial function. Our constitution says that "no warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce". In ordinary situations, the court issuing the warrant does not publicize the fact of such issuance. It releases to the police authorities for the arrest of the accused named in the warrant without undue publicity, otherwise a person to be arrested can flee from the long arms of the law.

I like to believe that the court in this de los Reyes case went thru that process. I am sure that the judge whose sala is in Talisay City, and who issued the warrant did not alert Clifford de los Reyes of his looming arrest because even if the latter ran and lost successively as Talisay City councilor and as Bulacao Barangay Captain, he, I think, remained a non-entity in so far as the judge was concerned and therefore, undeserving of a prior alert warning.

It can be assumed, however, that Mayor JVR used whatever political power he has and pulled all forms of his connections in order to know in advance and certainly ahead of the Philippine National Police, that a warrant for the arrest of his son was issued.

In the Filipino social order, as it probably is, in other societies, we value family honor and reputation, the most. It is thus, understandable that Mayor JVR did everything within his power to find out if a warrant for his son's arrest was already issued so that he could throw the protective mantle of the office of the mayor in his son's favor. In any case, an arrest sullies a family's reputation! If he pried that particular information from resources at his means, Mayor JVR only did as any father, in a similar situation, would. Was there an occasion involving an ordinary citizen with a warrant of his arrest just issued by the court when Mayor JVR used his power to know of such fact so that he could bring the guy to the safe confines of his office?

2. A part of the news report, which remains to be verified, can be a source of future legal discussion. It said that the mayor called the police officers to his office so that de los Reyes could be escorted to the court to post a bond for his temporary liberty. Since legally speaking, no bond may be posted for an accused who is not yet under the custody of the law, we can surmise that de los Reyes was, in fact, arrested by the police. To report that he was plainly escorted to the court was not quite accurate.

This aspect is important because if the court, after trial, should find Mr. de los Reyes, guilty of the crime of Cyber Libel beyond reasonable doubt, he could not invoke voluntary surrender in the computation of his sentence. In order that voluntary surrender may be appreciated by a court of law, "it is necessary that the same be spontaneous in such manner that the accused freely placed himself at the disposal of the law-enforcing authorities".

The report mentioned of Mayor JVR's calling the police for them to escort his son to the court for the posting of the bond. Differently said, Mayor JVR did not surrender his son at the disposal of the police because all he wanted was for the policemen to escort Clifford to the court. The information I gathered told me that Mr. Clifford de los Reyes was not hand cuffed when he was escorted to the court. Handcuffing a person is a clear evidence of his arrest. Mayor JVR, perhaps on his power as mayor, must have ordered the police not to cuff the hands of his son. After all, Clifford is no ordinary citizen. He is the son of the Mayor of Talisay City. Gee!














  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with