By MANUEL L. MORATÓ
No forum shopping
In all what we do in life, truth must always prevail. I have had my share of controversies in the two most controversial government agencies: The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB); and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) as chairman. Pinanindigan ko ang katotohanan.
Joy Belmonte claims that the two cases our lawyers filed in court have been “dismissed”. Not true
Allow me to clarify: Our lawyers filed a civil case in the sala of the Honorable Judge Rafael Hipolito, RTC Branch 215, Quezon City Hall of Justice, last April 2018. But when the trial proper was scheduled for January 21, 2019, my brother Pepito and his co-accused presented a petition on January 15 for Judge Hipolito to inhibit from the case. Pinagbibitiw iyong judge at “bias” daw po. Ang katotohanan ay pinigilan nila na magpatuloy iyong trial proper para hindi namin mailabas ang mga falsified documents that we were able to gather. Sila po ang nagpresenta sa corte nong iba.
Sabi din po in Joy Belmonte na pati daw iyong isang kaso namin na “Syndicated Estafa” ay panalo na rin daw po sila. Hindi po totoo. It’s on appeal sa DOJ sa main office sa Padre Faura. Wala pa pong desisyon doon. Hindi na po kami nag-appeal for reconsideration in DOJ Quezon City kasi sinabihan kami that we will only be wasting our time. Malakas daw kayo Joy sa mga Corte sa Quezon City
Ito pong criminal case we filed in the Office of the Prosecutors Quezon City in the sala of Assistant City Prosecutor Roderick P. Robledo, ay dinismiss niya before Christmas. Ni hindi po kami binigyan ng pagkakataon to present our side. Not a single hearing was given to us. Fiscal Robledo just heard the other side and decided the case without even giving us a chance to explain our side. Kung ano man po ang sinabi ng kabila dapat pinasagot kami. In short, whatever he was told by the other side, he simply based his decision on what he was told. That’s very unfair for us.
I explained that we follow what our lawyers tell us to do. We were told that it is not true that we indulged in “Forum Shopping”. We have lawyers to follow what we have to sign. We cannot even pretend to know more than our lawyers. And should we not follow them, we might offend them. Issues are discussed together; and what we are told, my siblings and I agree and follow the wisdom of our lawyers.
Our lawyers are decent, knowledgeable, honorable and conservative. They are prudent in what we have to do. Lawyering aside, we have known our lawyers for many, many years. We trust them. They would never lead us to do something that is not right to do. They are not only our lawyers but we consider them close family friends. That’s how much we trust them.
The case we filed in the Office of the Ombudsman is appropriate. It involves government officials who cannot favor relatives up to the 3rd of 4th degree of consanguinity.
To sum up Joy’s accusations: I can only say that the cases we filed upon the advice of our lawyers do not conflict with each other for one is civil case in the RTC Branch 215; another Syndicated Estafa which is criminal; and the case filed in the Office of the Ombudsman is administrative, because you are a government official when you signed the Special Permit to construct a 21 story condo / hotel in the demolished ancestral home of our parents, now owned by your family.
Joy, I cannot call you by any other name for I saw you grow up for I was close to your family, especially to your mother, Betty. She was a Christian, a well-meaning person and a dear friend. She was the one who asked me to write a column in Philippine Star in 1986, which I did for seven years without accepting any pay.
I once told her about resigning. She was in Hong Kong when I called her. She told me: “Don’t resign, Manoling. I’ll go back to Manila, meet me in the Italian Restaurant of Shangri-La on Shaw Boulevard for lunch tomorrow.”
Betty was such a caring person, so unlike you Joy.
Before I forget, I did not invite the media for a presscon in my office. I received a call that after your press conference with them, they would come to hear my side. But believe me, I did not write that note that appeared on Facebook “inviting” the media to my office for a press conference.
Later on, I was told that your press conference with them did not push through. They all came to me instead. I swear on the Bible that I did not invite anyone of them who came.
I repeat: I did not issue an invitation for a press conference in my office. They were supposed to be with you that morning at 10:00 A.M., but as they said, you did not appear. You cancelled your presscon. Hindi ko ugali mag-presscon.
TO BE CONTINUED…
For comments and suggestions email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the columns are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of The Philippine Business and News)