NOW that a new government is in place, fugitive Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson might decide to emerge from hiding and face two murder charges levelled against him for the decade-old brutal killing of a well-known Bicolano publicist and his driver.

After a warrant for his arrest was issued by a judge, Lacson fled the country, not surreptitiously, but through the Manila airport for an undisclosed destination and was later spotted in Rome, Italy, which turned out to be the last sighting of the wanted senator.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima this week said Lacson is back in the Philippines and is reportedly being “coddled” by a prominent businessman at his place “near the sea.”

De Lima presumably knows more than what she is telling the public ostensibly because agents of the law, led by the National Bureau of Investigation, “are in active pursuit of Lacson.”

Are the agents of the law, or the government itself, really serious in hunting down Lacson?

How can he come in undetected when his passport was promptly cancelled by the Department of Foreign Affairs while his picture is plastered in all Philippine points of entry (sea, air and land), as well as in the Interpol’s world wanted list?

Somebody up there is obviously protecting him.

Lacson went underground because he said he was being persecuted by the Arroyo administration which he had criticized incessantly.

But his former colleague, Sen. Benigno Aquino III, is now president, so he has nothing to fear anymore under this administration.

When asked how the search for Lacson was going, President Aquino replied that it is not a “priority” since the government has more pressing problems to attend to.

Why is a fugitive from justice, who is an elected senator, not a priority in Aquino’s bucket list, considering he is charged with a serious crime?

If Lacson is innocent of the charges which he denies, then he should submit himself to a court of law.

As a legislator himself, as well as a former head of the Philippine National Police, Lacson is bound to uphold the majesty of the law. What he has done by skipping town is set himself above the law.

President Aquino cannot be impassive to this flagrant obstruction of justice.

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