Maanne Ilagan Lopez
A WORK IN PROGRESS

On Holy Innocents Day

Lopez, Maanne I.

Editorial and Opinion Writing

January 8, 2008

The only innocent in the Ricardo Jalosjos case this Holy Innocents Day is none other than the 11-year old rape victim. Was he released or did he escape? These questions should be given answers. If Jalosjos escaped, then he should extend his imprisonment. If he was released, did it follow the proper process? Something’s fishy why Jalosjos was freed. Ricardo Dapat’s, Bureau of Corrections director, denial that he didn’t release Jalosjos, but escaped is a wrong move for him because that would only mean a graver negligence of his duty. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s dismissal of Dapat as director will not end the Jalosjos’ issue. If it was Dapat’s fault, was his termination enough as penalty to his negligence?

At first I pondered about the involvement of Arroyo in the Jalosjos fiasco, it was said in the last part of the editorial that “the President would not have the Jalosjos problem on her hands today if she had not decided, for reasons of her own, to commute the convicted child rapist’s two life sentences to a mere 16 years last April.” Jalosjos being a convicted child rapist doesn’t deserve to have a great punishment reduction. He raped an 11-year old child, that’s like her daughter or even grand daughter. His peccadillo will affect the life of the innocent child badly. Although the ex-congressman is politically powerful, that doesn’t give him the power over the law. But I think it’s not right to put the blame to the President this time. Moreover, it’s the President’s prerogative to execute the law. If her decision was not proper then the congress should not had approved it. If Jalosjos’ 16 years of imprisonment is over, then it’s all right to release him. However there is no clear statement if he escaped or he was released. What the Arroyo administration should do is to conduct a thorough investigation on the Jalosjos case. If he really escaped, then the President should think if she’ll withdraw the 16-year imprisonment and return it to the original two life sentences.

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