Implications of the Congressional hearings on the Degamo Case

So, we are in for another tragicomic sarzuela — the Congressional Hearings of the murder case of Roel Degamo and his constituents allegedly masterminded by Congressman Arnie Teves. It is tragic because thousands and even millions of pesos and hundreds of legislative hours will be wasted for the public hearings, and comic because we will see again our national legislators trying to hide-and-yet-expose their personal interests and intellectual capacities.

But what are the potential implications of congressional hearings on this case?

On the positive note, the Congressional hearings could generate greater public awareness and demand for action, which could lead to reforms in the system and promote greater justice. It could also shed light on the case and help authorities ensure that the investigation process is transparent and legally sound. Ideally, the hearings could also help to restore public trust in the justice system.

Cong. Arnie Teves and Gov. Roel Degamo of Negros Oriental

Unfortunately, the Congressional hearings could generate public pressure which can be leveraged to push law enforcement agencies to work on the case faster. If truths are speedily ferreted out because of the hearings, the better but what if it is the other way around? The public pressure could lead to a faster action on the part of the law enforcers but may not necessarily lead to justice as the details may have been left out, or the real mastermind or other accomplices have not been identified.

If the Congressmen will stick to their work, the Teves case should have been wrapped up already. The members of the Lower and Upper houses are not doing the hearings to determine Teves’s culpability but to conduct inquiries for the purpose of legislation. The Chambers could have just asked the Department of Justice if there is a probable cause. If the same is present, then the Lower House could have immediately placed Teves in preventive suspension.

Second, both Chambers have been occupied by ex-convicts and those with pending criminal cases. If the Congress is really serious, the first order of the hour is to automatically amend the Election Law and ban the convicts and those who have pending cases in running for any elective position. The fundamental law is clear — Public office is a public trust.

But of course, that is only if election is concerned. With respect with the equal protection clause, convicts also need a second chance and those with pending cases are not yet proven guilty. Hence, these types of citizens may be allowed to occupy appointive positions. In a way, the appointing officer will be vouching the former so there is somehow a system for check-and-balance.

Third, the Congressional hearings for the Degamo murder case can, and should, lead to the review and amendments of the Rules of Court –how fast or how slow should the disposition of cases be, and in what manner. The current number of days as prescribed in the current rules appear unrealistic. Maybe we can follow the jury system so that the judge will have lesser burden in determining the guilt of the accused.

Next, the Congressional hearings should also lead to laws on gun control and disarmament, and the strengthening of the laws against private armies. The latter should also include regulation of existing and former military men in dealing with politicians.

But then again, are these legislations possible? Maybe not. In the meantime, we need more popcorns.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: