Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dean of Ateneo School of Government Tony La Viña defends Harvey Keh

At a time when it may be prudent for the Ateneo de Manila University to distance itself from Harvey Keh, a faculty member and Director of the Youth and Social Entrepreneurship Program of the Ateneo School of Government, the Dean of the Ateneo School of Government Attorney Tony La Viña defended Keh in an article published on the GMA Network news site.

According to La Viña, "Harvey had acted out of a sincere appreciation of his civic duty. His behavior under examination by the Senate reinforces this belief". He then expressed disappointment over the way Keh was questioned during his appearance as a witness in the 16th May session of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato corona.

While being questioned by Senator-Judge Jinggoy Estrada, Keh was caught lying after he had earlier asserted that he had not contacted the media prior to submitting to the office of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, documents supposedly containing "damning" evidence against Corona obtained from an anonymous source. While Keh's lapse in judgment over contacting the media was noted by La Viña in his GMA Network article, he was silent about the bit regarding Keh's attempt to lie his way out of Estrada's questioning..
Still, also in full disclosure, I wasn’t consulted on his decision to send the documents he received to the Senate, or in alerting the media. Had we spoken before the fact, I would have advised greater caution.
La Viña instead cited the fair line of questioning of both Estrada and Senator Judge Miriam Santiago but also lamented the manner with which those questions were delivered which, according to him, "sends a wrong signal to future whistleblowers and other private citizens summoned by the Senate".

The Senate court, for its part, had long put up with a litany of what had many times been shown to be unethical behaviour on the part of the prosecution camp -- from the time it railroaded a sloppily-written impeachment complaint against Corona through the House of Representatives, many times presented flawed and possibly illegally-obtained evidence, and misled the public and the Senator-Judges themselves in the way they interpreted evidence.

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