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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Culture of Impunity: The Case of Chavit Singson

One of the glaring problems of the administration is the prevailing perception that the officials in the government, particularly the President and her close allies, act with impunity, comfortable in the knowledge that they are protected by the system.

Take, for example, the case of Deputy National Security Adviser Luis “Chavit” Singson. A few days ago, he practically bragged on national television that he beat up his live-in partner, Rachel “Che” Tiongson and her lover, after he allegedly caught them “in the act”. He even stated that the two were lucky that he didn’t kill them.

Keep in mind that this is a public official, who’s supposed to uphold the law and comport himself properly, admitting, for the record, that he committed a crime, which is basically violence against a woman. Instead of being contrite and humble, he even arrogantly states that he could’ve killed them, under the misconception that the only punishment he would get would be a slap on the wrist. The truth of the matter there is that, if the rule of law were upheld in our country, had Singson done what he said he’d do, he would’ve been charged with homicide.

Worse, being involved in national security matters, it’s very possible for Singson to have used assets available to him to maintain surveillance of his ex and her lover. If proven to be true, then Singson is not only guilt of violence against women; he is also guilty of abusing his office.

So far, however, Palace officials have been pussyfooting around the issue, simply saying that Singson should submit himself to the legal process, and that they would wait for the results of the investigation. It doesn’t seem bothersome for them that Singson has already confessed to the crime of beating up a woman. Shouldn’t that be troubling enough to suspend him, considering that our President herself is a woman?

At the same time, I’m not too willing to believe the story of Tiongson wholesale, as there is enough detail to call her version of the story into question. But, if we simply focus on the matter of the beating, shouldn’t that be enough evidence to at least suspend Singson while the investigation is ongoing?

Of course, it’s important to remember that Singson is very close to the President, and, as shown in the past, the President is very forgiving of her inner circle. So, unless the clamor for Singson to face the charges against him continues to grow, it’s very likely that the President and her officials will do their utmost to see to it that this sordid affair be swept under the rug as swiftly and as furtively as possible.

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