DOJ orders warrantless arrest of GCTA-freed PDLs who won’t surrender by Sept 19

Maris Federez   •   September 17, 2019   •   638

Two days more to go before the expiration of the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte for the persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who were freed by virtue of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA).

In the latest Department of Justice (DOJ) data, only around 700 of them have surrendered and are now under the custody of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

This prompted the DOJ to mull over coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in capturing these freed PDLs even without warrants of arrest, should they fail to surrender after the September 19 deadline.

“Each minute, each hour, each day that you refuse to turn yourself in is a continuing commission of an offense and for that reason, law enforcement agencies may arrest you even without a warrant,” DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

The DOJ said they are ready to face anyone who will elevate the matter to the court.

“He may go to court and ask for any relief you wish to obtain from the court, but for now that is how we intend to (do it) and the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) through the PNP (Philippine National Police) is ready to do so after the 19th,” said Guevarra.

Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Law Dean Attorney George Erwin Garcia, however, said this is a blatant violation of the Constitution.

Garcia said that based on the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, every individual has the right to due process and can only be detained if there is court-issued warrant of arrest or if he is caught in the act of committing a crime.

Garcia said any convict who wishes to challenge this government’s move may file a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus before the Supreme Court.

The Writ of Habeas Corpus orders an individual or government official who has custody of a person to bring that person to the Court to determine if his detention was legally done.

The latest DOJ data shows that of the 1,914 PDLs freed under the CGTA, 692 have already surrendered and are now under the custody of BuCor. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

DOJ dismisses complaint vs Koko Pimentel on violating quarantine protocols

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed the complaint against Senator Aquilino Pimentel due to a lack of probable cause.

Private lawyer and former law dean Rico Quicho filed a complaint against Pimentel for violating Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events Act of 2018.

In March of last year, the Makati Medical Center (MMC) reported that the senator breached the MMC-Delivery Complex’s strict infection and containment protocols.

Quicho’s complaint alleged that Pimentel breached quarantine protocols after escorting his wife at the MMC while still undergoing quarantine.

In a statement, the Office of the Prosecutor-General said the Senator is not obliged to report under the said Republic Act since it is meant for public health authorities.

“Senator Koko Pimentel is not a public health authority (i.e. he is not the DOH, the RITM, the Epidemiology Bureau), therefore, not obliged to report under R.A. No. 11332. The mandatory reporting under R.A. No. 11332 was meant for public health authorities only,” according to the Office of the Prosecutor-General.

It added that Pimentel was also not aware of his condition when he was escorting his wife in the hospital and that he immediately cooperated upon learning of his condition.

“There was nothing to report then when he went to S&R BGC on 16 March 2020 or at MMC hospital on 24 March 2020 for Senator Koko Pimentel only knew or learned about his condition of being positive for COVID-19 on the same day – 24 March 2020, while he was already at the premises of the hospital,” the statement further reads.

Meanwhile, in a short statement, the senator welcomed the ruling of the DOJ.

“That decision is unassailable and correct. Tama naman yan. The complaint criminally charged me for violation of non-penal DOH issuances which are not even addressed to me. How can something non criminal all of a sudden become criminal when you are not even expected to be knowledgeable or an expert about their contents?” Pimentel said.

“And the person who charged me was not even anywhere near me or the place of the incident. Kakapagtaka why he became all of a sudden the source of the allegations,” he added.

On the other hand, Atty. Quicho expressed his dismay over the said verdict.

He pointed out how policies change “arbitrarily contingent on who receives the shorter end of a stick.”

“We are sadly reminded of a fish vendor in Quezon City who was violently arrested for failure to comply with government regulations. He was beaten with a stick, dragged, and humiliated in public,” Quicho said. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)


DOJ may adjudicate on UP-DND Pact termination – Guevarra

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) may end up adjudicating on the ongoing dispute between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) relating to the abrogation of an agreement that has, for decades, barred the entry of government troops into UP campuses without prior coordination, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said this is pursuant to Presidential Decree (PD) 242, which prescribes the procedure for administrative settlement or adjudication of disputes, claims, and controversies between or among government offices, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned and -controlled corporations.

“The ongoing dispute between the UP and the DND, both national government agencies/instrumentalities, regarding the cancellation or abrogation of their 1989 agreement may end up with the DOJ for administrative adjudication pursuant to PD 242 (which remains good law),” Guevarra said.

Because of this, the Justice secretary said he will decline to state his stance on the matter.

“It will therefore be premature for the DOJ to make any comment on the dispute at this time,” he said.

The DND unilaterally ended the 31-year-old agreement with UP, citing information that the New People’s Army is recruiting students inside UP campuses.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier explained that the deal is ‘obsolete’ and that UP has become “a breeding ground” and “a safe haven for enemies of the state.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

NBI completes forensic examination on Christine Dacera’s body – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has completed its forensic examination on the remains of flight attendant Christine Dacera, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Monday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he will leave it to the NBI to release the results of its examination.

Guevarra added that the agency is currently coordinating with the Makati Medical Center for the tests it conducted on Dacera when she was taken there after she was found unconscious in the bathtub of a Makati hotel on January 1 after a night of partying with some friends.

The NBI earlier revealed it had extracted at least 100 milliliters of bodily fluid from Dacera’s body during its re-autopsy. It said it will help check for the presence of illegal drugs or alcohol.

Guevarra said the NBI Digital Forensic Team will next probe the data from the mobile phone of persons tagged in the death of Dacera.

Eleven individuals, who were with Dacera before she died, are facing a complaint for rape with homicide over the incident. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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