Friday, January 30, 2009

Prosecutor John Resado Lied Under Oath..Not Once, But Twice!

While a majority of the people  believe that Prosecutor Resado is guilty of tax evasion, failure to declare true assets and liabilities and possibly even bribery, enough evidence still needs to be gathered to seal the case against him.

It may be tempting to immediately file a case against him, but any flaw, minor it may be, will be enough for the fiscal who will receive the case to dismiss the case on a technicality. We are led to believe this since we have already seen the association of prosecutors nationwide take a stand behind the embattled John Resado.

So if there is any case that will be filed against the prosecutor, it should be supported with enough evidence to make it airtight and not one prone to be dismissed on a technicality.

But at this time, there is one case that is definitely supported by strong evidence, provided by John Resado himself. There are indisputably two instances that the state prosecutor willfully and knowingly lied under oath.

During yesterday’s hearing in Congress, I questioned him on his testimony about the bribery issue and his story about how the 800,000 pesos came to his hands. In his answers, he perjured himself since he gave conflicting answers, which are all part of proceedings that were under oath.

What took me by awe is the prosecutor’s straight-faced, unflinching replies, even though it was already clear on nationwide TV that he was lying. He was the literal embodiment of “lying with a straight face” and “lying through the teeth”.

After pointing out the conflicts in his statements which I reminded him were tantamount to lying, I asked him that as a prosecutor, if a complainant or a respondent lies to him under oath, what effect will it have on him, he said that it would result in questionable credibility.

His answer is definitely applicable to him. I don’t know if it dawned on him that I had just led him to admit that he has questionable credibility, or he lacked the intellectual capacity to realize it. But the impression is that he is really a stone-faced, iron-willed liar, and I was flabbergasted at how unflinching and confident he was in facing the committee. Even if it was proven that he lied under oath.

In the previous hearing, under oath, he boldly accused PDEA lawyer Atty. Alvaro Lazaro of attempting to bribe him to dismiss the case. The congressional committee members cross examined him and were all unconvinced.

He wanted people to believe that the PDEA deliberately came up with the weak case and that the PDEA lawyer offered a bribe for him to dismiss the case. The basic question was if the case was deliberately made weak, what is the need to offer a bribe to dismiss the case? Wouldn’t the inherent lack of merit be enough to dismiss it, thereby negating the need to shell out extra money for the prosecutor?

Later on, the prosecutor did dismiss the case, citing the faulty gathering of evidence, using the “fruit of the poisonous tree” principle. So, the next question is, if the objective of the bribe offer was to dismiss the case, did he get paid when he finally dismiss it?

But in the inquest resolution which he wrote (assuming that he was really the one who wrote it), he pointed out that the PDEA attempted to remedy the weak case, but he deemed it insufficient. In his testimony before the congressional committee, he also said that the PDEA tried to bolster the case with remedial measures. Are those the acts of someone who would want the case immediately dismissed?

As I said after asking him my questions about it, his story defies logic.

When asked why it was only then that he revealed the bribery attempt, he said that he did not have the opportunity to reveal it during the congressional hearing because he was always cut off by the congressmen. Well, everybody watching on TV and listening in the radio during the coverage of the hearing knows that he had all the opportunity to say it if he wanted to.

When asked why he didn’t reveal it during the NBI investigation, he said he considered Atty. Lazaro his friend and under our culture, friends don’t rat on each other. He even described it “absurd” if he reported it. Remember, he is a prosecutor and he thinks that revealing a friend’s violation of the law is “absurd”.

Later on, I was able to get hold of a copy of the report by the National Bureau of Investigation on the inquiry they made regarding the bribery issue. As I read the entire report, I came across an entry which listed down the statements given by Prosecutor Resado.

Among other things that he revealed during the NBI investigation, he made a categorical statement that no one, not anyone, ever approached him to offer a bribe to dismiss the case or influence him in any way to make a decision.

During yesterday’s hearing, upon my questioning, he said that he voluntarily made that statement, without being asked directly about a bribe offer, unlike in the congressional hearing where he was pointedly asked if he was offered a bribe.

That means that if his accusation against Atty. Lazaro is true, then he gave a deliberately false statement to the NBI without even being prompted. That would be lying under oath since the NBI statement was made under oath.

Aside from that, he would also be liable for obstruction of justice since his statement led the NBI to believe that there was no bribe offer when, as he claimed in a congressional hearing, there was one.

Assuming that he did tell the truth to the NBI, he would then be guilty of lying under oath to the congressional committee since he categorically said there was a bribe offer. He could be cited for contempt by congress and charged with perjury.

Another case of perjury by Prosecutor Resado pertains to how he received the amount of 800,000 pesos, something which he does not deny and even offers an explanation for its legitimacy (although his story is still under doubt).

In yesterday’s hearing, he said that he received the amount in several tranches over several days. Remembering what he said in a previous hearing, I pressed him on his statement. He reiterated that he received the money over several days, that the whole amount was not given in one lump sum but in several tranches.

After making him say that, I referred to the transcript of the previous hearing and pointed out to him that during that hearing, he said that the money, which was actually 1.2 million pesos, not only 800,000 pesos (he was the one who corrected the congressmen), was given to him by his in-laws on November 30. He later deposited the 800,000 pesos on December 2.  When asked how many days he had the whole amount with him, he said “only one day”, December 1.

It was another case of Prosecutor Resado in conflict with himself, under oath. It only means that he is lying, and lying deliberately. When you listen to him, he does not seem to be a confused man, and even exudes confidence and boldness when he answers questions.

I have participated in many investigations in Congress and only in rare instances do I see a resource person / witness keep his cool under the scrutiny of congressmen asking questions. Sometimes even the innocent are rattled under the pressure of several congressmen asking criss-crossing questions.

But Prosecutor Resado is quite different. He maintains his composure and answers immediately without stammering, and even looks you straight in the eye. Even if you’ve already caught him lying.

I don’t know what the other prosecutors are thinking now. I can understand why their initial reaction was to rush to his side and defend him during the initial stages of the inquiry. After all, one of their own was under attack.

But after going through all the hearings and seeing the outcome, do they still think that standing by Prosecutor Resado is worth it?

Set aside the issues of bribery, tax evasion, undeclared wealth etc. Those still have to undergo further inquiries and gathering of evidence. But what about perjury? The evidence is there, forever etched in the transcripts of the proceedings in Congress and the NBI.

As prosecutors, they know the value of telling the truth under oath. As John Resado himself pointed out, false testimony leads to questionable credibility. He even cited conflicting statements by the PDEA agents to put a cloud of doubt over the credibility of the buy-bust operation which led him to ultimately dismiss the case.

Now it his turn to give conflicting statements. By the same measure that he judged the PDEA agents, so too, he should be judged. Right now, his credibility is as believable as the idea that elephants can fly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sir, is the committee report on this already available online? Thank you and more power!