All bar exam passers deserve congratulations. They have made a lot of sacrifices in terms of effort, time and money studying law and reviewing for the exam, so finally achieving their goal of becoming a certified lawyer deserve cheers and celebration.
The prosecutors who won the serious illegal detention case against alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles that led to her imprisonment were once bar passers themselves. Winning that celebrated case might be the highlight of their legal career while serving the victim or appelant, Ben Luy, justice. But now that the Court of Appeals reversed her conviction, it would appear that they have bungled the case for failing to prove that Napoles was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
The CA judges, also bar passers once, saw flaws in the evidences and testimonies of Luy that eventually undid the prosecutors’ legal victory. Worse, Luy, if ever he was really illegally detained, suffered an injustice, while Napoles, if ever she was really innocent, also suffered an injustice for the prison time she did not deserve in the first place.
The prosecutors might still be able to sleep soundly despite the reversal of fortune. It may not bother them that Napoles is free and Luy now appears to have wrongly accused her and responsible for her unjust imprisonment. After all, paid attorney’s fees were already spent. But this development on that case is not just about kidnapping involving these two people.
With the CA ruling impacting on Luy’s credibility, it’s just a matter of time that the plunder case against Napoles would crumble because the testimonies of the prime witness become questionable. The defense lawyer will just have to cite the CA ruling in the plunder trial.
Can the prosecutors in the plunder case against Napoles still sleep soundly when that happens, when a greater injustice would be inflicted to the nation as a whole because the exploitation of the PDAF and its diversion to ghost projects of non-government organizations of Napoles and legislators become just a figment of our imagination because the source of testimony is not credible?
In facilitating justice, or injustice, bar passers, when they become prosecutors, carry a big burden doing their job. The lawyering profession is not just a livelihood for the lawyers to support their families. Their winning or losing a case impacts society and many lives. And when they do a sloppy job, it can spell disaster to crime victims, and this nation in the case of the plunder and PDAF case.
Preventing a “plunder blunder” rests not in the judges but in the prosecutors. The prosecutors’ job is to successfully prosecute all those accountable. If they can’t do that, the moral burden switches to the defense lawyers, who for their victory in the case, if ever that happens, might be meaningless because stolen taxpayers’ money is as good as gone.