Displaying items by tag: DOJ

Senators slam DOJ decision

By Hannah L. Torregoza/http://news.mb.com.ph

Senators yesterday called Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s decision to downgrade the charges against the suspects in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa as “anomalous and suspicious.”

Photo: MB File — Secretary of Justice Vitalliano Aguirre. (Jansen Romero /Manila Bulletin)
Secretary of Justice Vitalliano Aguirre. (Credits: Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin file photo)

Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon slammed Aguirre’s move and said that the abrupt move of the justice secretary was a “big blow to the justice system in the country.”

“The abrupt downgrading of the case against Supt. Marvin Marcos and his alleged accomplices from murder to homicide is a big blow to the justice system in the country,” said Drilon, a former DOJ chief.

“This is a very disappointing development insofar as the ability of the government to prevent and prosecute police abuses and irregularities is concerned,” the minority leader stressed.

Drilon also said it was also an insult to the Senate which conducted a thorough investigation of the case, and eventually recommended the filing of murder charges against Marcos and his alleged cohorts.

During the Senate investigation, Drilon noted that Aguirre acknowledged the mayor’s killing could qualify as premeditated, which classifies as murder.

“Secretary Aguirre told us under oath here in the Senate that he himself considers the killing as premeditated. He even pointed out that the conduct of Espinosa’s arrest was not consistent with the PNP’s procedures,” he said.

He said Aguirre even labeled the operation as an “overkill” considering that 19 policemen served the search warrant for a single weapon at a provincial jail when only three or four persons could have done the job.

“It begs now the question: Why did the DOJ suddenly reverse its earlier decision,which was supported by ample evidence? Why not allow the court to determine if it’s murder or homicide?” Drilon asked.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, one of the committees that participated in the probe, also questioned the DOJ’s move, saying the secretary could be liable for abuse of discretion.

“In the first place, I’m surprised why did the DOJ downgrade it? It should have been the courts that downgraded the case,” Gordon said.

Gordon said somebody should file a petition for review, pointing out that the case should be considered non-bailable because the charge was murder.

Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros called Aguirre “flip-flop king” for downgrading the charges of murder to mere homicide.

“From being the fake news king of Padre Faura, Secretary Aguirre is also now immortalized as the DOJ’s flip-flop king, a would-be absolver of murderers,” she stressed.

Hontiveros said that she will ask the Senate to invite Aguirre to explain his department’s decision to downgrade the charges of the accused.

“This may be the last straw for many of us. We cannot allow Secretary Aguirre to continue to toy around with our justice system. Enough’s enough,” Hontiveros said.

The Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, chaired by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, recommended last March the filing of murder charges against the policemen led by Marcos.


Why the VIP treatment for a plunderer?

I am not a lawyer but I see something terribly wrong with the way Janet Lim Napoles is being treated by the Duterte regime, specifically the Department of Justice, but also by the president himself.
When President Rodrigo Duterte opined months ago that maybe Napoles was not as guilty as had been presumed – presumptions based on mountains of evidence – it seemed that it would only be a matter of time when she would be cleared of charges.
This hasn’t happened yet, but the initial steps have been taken, and they have to disturb anyone who still believes that the guilty must be charged and convicted in a court of law, and the innocent set free.
To recall, Napoles and her brother (who remains in hiding) had found themselves an obscene but highly profitable gold mine in the pork barrel allocations that congressmen and senators had been granting themselves for decades.
Since all the country’s lawmakers had given themselves millions every year to dole out to their pet projects, these pork barrel allocations had been a source of graft and corruption.
In many cases, the projects – usually public works -- were overpriced and the results substandard. The lawmakers would award the projects to favored contractors, who then built the low grade roads, bridges, school buildings, basketball courts, waiting sheds and the like, making huge profits in the process.
Naturally, the lawmakers received their share of the pie. Under the table and tax free, of course.
This went on for the longest time, until Napoles came up with one bright idea: Why build projects at all? Why not create ghost non-government organizations concocting impossible-to-audit projects to receive pork barrel funds?
The millions – billions actually – would be shared between the lawmakers who doled out the funds to the NGOs, and Napoles.
Improbable as it seems in this 21st century, this is exactly what Napoles and her cohorts did. But as the saying goes, the truth will eventually come out, and when it did a good number of congressmen and senators were found to have been active and willing participants to the scheme.
In the case of three senators – Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla – the amounts doled out and the kickbacks they received were sufficient enough for them to be charged with plunder, meaning they gifted themselves with more than P50 million in rebates. That’s roughly $1 millon in today’s exchange rate.
Estrada and Revilla are now incarcerated, while the court allowed the 90-something Enrile to post bail owing to his advanced years and frail health.
Napoles, meanwhile, was also incarcerated not only for her role in the plunder of pork barrel funds, but also because she had kept a former employee and distant relative imprisoned inside a rest home for Catholic priests in an exclusive Makati village. Benhur Luy was that Napoles employee who revealed the scam after he had been rescued by the NBI.
In my book, if a guy says he was kept against his will, and if his close relatives say he was kept against his will, then in all probability he was kept against his will. A court therefore convicted Napoles for illegal detention.
Under the Duterte regime, the law seems to have become ultra-selective. Janet Napoles has been getting special treatment for unknown reasons, although any fairly intelligent person can guess why. She was recently cleared of the illegal detention charges by the Court of Appeals, at the behest of the Justice department.
We can see where this is going. Sooner or later, she will also be cleared of the plunder raps she is now facing. Naturally, the senators will likewise be set free. This is justice, Duterte style, ladies and gentlemen.
Having amassed billions of pesos, most of which remains unaccounted for, Napoles still wields a lot of clout. And with so many congressmen having been in her payroll in the past, they would rather that their names be kept out of public scrutiny. For this reason, they will do anything to keep Napoles happy.
Very recently, the pork barrel queen requested that she be kept in a cell separate from the hoi polloi criminals she is imprisoned with, citing threats to her life.
Request granted, of course.
It isn’t only now that VIPs get preferential treatment, of course. For the longest time, rich criminals are treated like kings and queens because their jailors are aware of what they can do. They can be generous to their captors, which is the case with too many wealthy crooks to mention.
As for the poor, they don’t even get their day in court. The policy now is to shoot them rather than spend government funds for their capture, detention, trial and incarceration.
Such is the Philippine judicial system, circa 2017.

Ex-narc walks free after DOJ drops drug raps

MANILA- Former anti-drug agent Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino was released from detention Thursday afternoon after the Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped drug charges against him and his Chinese asset Yan Yi Shou.

Wearing his military uniform, Marcelino was greeted by Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chie Persida Acosta upon his release from his detention cell in Camp Aguinaldo.

Speaking to reporters following his release, Marcelino said he has not yet thought about filing counter-charges as he maintained that there was something wrong with his arrest in the first place.

"Hindi pa namin kino-consider sa ngayon (filing of charges). I still have to consult eh," he said.

THE DOJ dropped the P380-million drug charges it earlier filed against Marcelino and Yan, setting aside the resolution issued on September 2016 by Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez. 

The case against Marcelino and Yan stemmed from their arrest on January 21, 2016 in an alleged “shabu” facility, a townhouse at Celadon Residences in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

The two said they were undertaking an intelligence operation at the time. 


-with a report from Henry Atuelan, DZMM


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