After weeks of tongue-wagging among lawyers, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed on Thursday that Quezon City assistant prosecutor Philip dela Rosa is now under administrative and criminal investigation after his wife lodged a complaint against him arising from a video allegedly showing his extramarital sexual acts with another woman.
De Lima did not identify the prosecutor, but sources at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office said Dela Rosa was charged for grave coercion, grave threats and violation of Republic Act 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act, by his wife [identity withheld] before the QC Prosecutor’s Office.
But the charges were forwarded to the DOJ after QC prosecutors inhibited themselves from investigating the case because of their professional links to Dela Rosa, who had just joined the Prosecutor’s Office last October.
“The central issue is the merit and fitness of a person to function as a public prosecutor. That means living up to the highest standards of integrity,” De Lima said, in a text message.
But De Lima also disclosed that prosecutor fiscal filed countercharges for violation of Republic Act 9995, or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act, against his wife for allegedly posting in the Internet the sex video she discovered in his laptop.
“The sex video is a collateral issue that demonstrates the emergence of the use and abuse of technology,” the DOJ chief noted.
De Lima said reports reaching her office indicated that the video was taken when Dela Rosa was still with the Public Attorney’s Office and prior to his appointment as assistant city prosecutor.
The sex scandal has become the scuttlebutt in legal circles because the woman in the video [identity withheld] was allegedly a bar topnotcher who became a public attorney specializing in domestic violence and a law school professor.
She is allegedly a daughter of a regional trial court judge who was recently promoted magistrate of a superior court.
De Lima said the wife has filed separate disbarment complaints before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines against the prosecutor and the judge’s daughter, who has since left for Canada.
When sought for comment, Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, who was himself Quezon City prosecutor, agreed with De Lima that prosecutors should preserve high standards of integrity and morality.
“A prosecutor should be an example of morality,” said the prosecutor general, who vowed there would be no whitewash in their preliminary investigation.
“If we find probable cause on the allegation against our prosecutor, we have no choice but to file the case (in court). As always, we evaluate cases based on merits. Not because the respondent is a prosecutor, he will be spared,” Arellano stressed. With Rio N. Araja