President Rodrigo Duterte has warned the Office of the Ombudsman against citing policemen and soldiers in contempt for not attending investigation of cases filed against them with the anti-graft body, particularly involving Extra-Judicial Killings. (EJK).
“Everything has to go through me. Whoever you will investigate, you have to course it through me. You address it to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG),” Duterte told the Ombudsman.
His message to policemen and soldiers: “If I say do not allow yourself to be investigated, you will not allow yourself to be investigated.”
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales reacts: “What is the President’s business with Ombudsman?”
“There is no law that requires a soldier or a policeman or any respondent for that matter to seek clearance from anybody,” even from the President, she said.
“Under the law, we have subpoena powers. We have orders for particular officials, including police and soldiers, to show up or to file pleadings. If they don’t file pleadings, that’s their lookout,” she adds.
Morales warns those who would follow Duterte.
The investigation on police and military officials facing complaints before her office would push through whether or not the respondents cooperate with the Ombudsman, she said.
If there is probable cause, we will file the case in court, said Morales.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre did not investigate summary executions of suspects in the war on drugs ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte despite his mandate as Secretary of the Department of Justice.
Aguirre ordered the National Prosecution Service (NPS) to bar filing of charges against law enforcement officers involved in the killings.
Aguirre must be investigated for graft.
These are among accusations hurled by Senator Leila de Lima in the complaint the detained Senator filed against the Justice Secretary at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Aguirre ready to face complaint
Aguirre said Saturday he is ready to face the criminal and administrative complaint filed by De Lima.
”I will face her accusations against me in any forum. I will follow what our laws or rules state on jurisdiction and will not challenge it because I know I have not done anything wrong,” Aguirre said in a statement sent to reporters covering the Department of Justice (DOJ).
De Lima cited in her complaint Aguirre’s supposed inaction on the cases of killings in the country in connection with the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drug trafficking, despite the DOJ’s mandate to investigate and prosecute criminals.
The senator said she has “reliable information” coming from the DOJ that Aguirre supposedly issued a directive to the National Prosecution Service (NPS) that no prosecutor is allowed to file a case against any law enforcement official enforcing the administration’s war on drugs.
De Lima, in her 27-page complaint, said Aguirre must be investigated for supposed violation of several provisions of the Revised Penal Code, such as negligence in prosecution and toleration of criminal offenses (Article 208), grave coercion (Article 286), use of falsified documents (Article 172.2), offering of false testimony (Article 184) and usurpation of legislative powers (Article 239).
She further said that Aguirre must be investigated for the alleged violation of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
However, Aguirre said that he can contest de Lima’s allegation with established evidence.
”She is just trying to be relevant. Unlike her, who has consistently anchored her defense on bare denials and nothing more, we can refute her accusations with well -established proof of actions taken,” he noted.
The DOJ filed drugs raps against de Lima, accusing her of receiving millions from the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
De Lima, currently detained at the PNP custodial center, argued that the allegations against her do not actually constitute sale and trading of illegal drugs and liability of government officials under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act), but rather only direct bribery.
Separate cases for three counts of drug trafficking were filed against de Lima before the Muntinlupa regional trial court (RTC), which were assigned to three different courts.
The cases for sale and trading of illegal drugs and liability of government officials under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) were assigned to RTC Branch 204 Judge Juanita Guerrero, Branch 205 Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz, and Branch 206 Judge Patria Manalastas-de Leon.
The first count in Branch 204 also includes de Lima’s former driver and partner, Ronnie Dayan, and former National Bureau of Investigation deputy director Rafael Ragos as her co-accused.
On the other hand, de Lima is joined by her nephew, Jose Adrian Dera, in the second count in Branch 205.
The third count in Branch 206 includes former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu, his alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli, high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian, de Lima’s former bodyguard Jonel Sanchez, Dayan and Dera also as accused. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA)