A Letter from the Son of One of the Prosecutors in the “Alabang Bribery Case” (Save Our Honest Prosecutors!)
(Note: Portions of this letter appeared in the Jan. 5 issue of The Philippine Star, in Mr. Jarius Bondoc’s column at page 11. It’s a reaction to the Jan. 2 column of the same writer. It can also be found online at: http://thecorsarius.multiply.com/journal/item/42/My_Letter_to_The_Philippine_Star )
Dear Sir Jarius Bondoc,
May you have a blessed 2009! Please let me introduce myself. My name is Phillip Kimpo Jr., 23, a writer, poet, and blogger. I am a member of the LIRA Filipino poetry group and of UMPIL (Writers Union of the Philippines).
If my name sounds familiar, maybe it is, albeit for the wrong reason. I am the only child of Senior State Prosecutor Phillip I. Kimpo, one of the prosecutors falsely and unfairly involved in the alleged Php50-M DOJ bribery attempt.
First, a disclaimer: I am not writing on behalf of my father. I believe that he would discourage me from writing this if he knew. He would not let me get involved in matters of his work. I am writing this as a son who deeply cares for his one remaining parent, a son who has lived a simple and sometimes difficult life because his father maintains to this very day an honest lifestyle. (I even like to call him “honest to a fault.”)
I have always regarded you as a journalist and columnist of high integrity. Thus, it came as a painful shock to read your January 2 column in The Philippine Star.
Being a writer myself, I know that it is perfectly right to express one’s opinion, especially in one’s own newspaper space. But it was very disheartening to read your own take on the matter:
“As it turned out in the case of the ‘Alabang Boys,’ the narcs were dedicated to duty. But not the prosecutors on whom they relied for the requisite criminal proceedings…The PDEA found out that P50 million changed hands for the three suspects to get out of jail before Christmas…It is likely that the prosecutors did mess up the case.”
You wrote of the changing of cash as if it were historical fact, not mere allegation. As far as I know by keeping tabs on the news, PDEA has yet to present proof of the alleged bribery attempt.
On the other hand, there was strong evidence for the case’s dismissal, as stated in the investigating prosecutor’s resolution. Quoting Inquirer’s own January 2 news article:
“The resolution dismissed the case because of the illegal warrantless arrests and warrantless searches on the vehicles of the three suspects.
The resolution also noted the excessive use of force against the respondents, pointing to several grave improprieties of the PDEA agents such as the mauling of Brodette while his hand were tied and the shooting of the right front tire of a Honda Accord. It also pointed to seven other bullet holes.
In their sworn statements, the respondents complained to the DoJ that one of the PDEA agents said that if the operation happened outside the posh subdivision in Alabang, they would not be alive.
“Kung sa labas ito nangyari at walang witness, tigok na sila (If it happened outside [the subdivision], and there were no witnesses, they would have been dead),” the PDEA agent was quoted as saying.
The resolution particularly noted that Joseph was “under the control of the PDEA agents without the presence of any counsel when information against respondent Tecson was extracted from him.”"
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For the record: my father NEVER received any bribe money for the “Alabang Boys” case. In fact, he has NEVER received any bribe money in his entire career. If he did, we would now be wallowing in wealth instead of driving an old car and renting an apartment unit. Kahit tingnan pa nila ang laman ng mga bank account namin, wala silang makikita. We have nothing to hide. Even my dad’s fellow public servants at the DOJ know of his incorruptible character.
While we haven’t exactly lived a hand-to-mouth existence, we have followed a modest life all these years. It is very heart-wrenching to see all our sacrifices tarnished by false allegations. I never imagined that one day, I would be a writing a letter such as this.
At the risk of getting soppy, there was a time in my childhood days when our apartment unit was the only one along the street that was lit by candles. (Unpaid electricity bills.) There was a time when we had to settle for Maggi-and-egg dinners, on loan from the nearby sari-sari store. Nililista lang, walang pambayad e. There was a time when my only entertainment were books and radyo-nobelas, because we had no money to fix or replace our broken TV. (Of course, these problems do not compare to the poverty experienced by millions of Filipinos, but these are problems you wouldn’t expect to find in the homes of people of high position.)
If my dad wanted to give me a more comfortable life through unethical deeds, he would’ve already done it back then. But he stuck to his principles, principles I dearly believe in and espouse through my literary works.
Our financial situation only took a turn for the better when I became a scholar in the Philippine Science High School, which was followed by UP Diliman. The free tuition took a lot of the burden off the shoulders of my father. Even in UP, I worked as a Student Assistant, carrying computers despite my asthma, so I can chip in my meager Php 2,500 monthly salary to our finances.
I am currently working at home as a freelance Internet writer while finishing my first book. Now, because I’m able to help with the bills, the belts around our waists aren’t as tight as before…which is another reason why my father does not need extra money obtained deeply against his values. Who needs millions when you can have a peaceful, guilt-free life?
We rent an apartment unit in Galas, Quezon City, and this is the only home I’ve known in my whole life. Our car is an old, dented, second-hand Mitsubishi Lancer whose headlights are nearly falling off their sockets and whose paint is cracked and flaking. We have stuck with this car because we don’t have the luxury to buy a new one, and also because why would we? It’s not a necessity to have a great car. Our old Lancer, while a tad embarrassing to ride in, suits our needs just fine. We don’t feel the pressure to have a shiny model to park side by side with other government officials’ more grandiose cars.
(If you have doubts about this tale of mine, I will gladly meet you so I can ‘tour’ you around our apartment unit and show you our car. My contact details are at this letter’s end. My main website is also there; my life is kind of an open book in my online journals.)
To be honest, I am not expecting a response from you — after all, who am I to elicit a reply from one of the country’s top columnists? Still, I am hoping that my letter will somehow urge you to take a second look at your views upon the matter, and that you will share this with your many readers. Yes, people, there are honest prosecutors in the Philippines. Hopefully, your column will be a medium with which to spread that message.
Sir, you too are a son like me, so you understand my pain and my personal intentions. As a journalist, you have championed the truth for years probably longer than my young lifetime. We are both writers. I was a campus journalist. I also believe in the truth, and I pray that it will come out soon so that my dad and I can go back to living a simple — and quiet — life.
Thank you very much for your time. May God bless you.
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Phillip Kimpo Jr.