DOJ summons Colmenares, youth party-list groups over raps filed by PNP-CIDG

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019   •   694

Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has summoned Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares, members of youth party-list groups over raps filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).

The PNP-CIDG has filed trafficking and child abuse complaints against the said individuals over missing high school student Alicia Lucena.

Complainant Relissa Lucena said her daughter was recruited by Anakbayan.

However, Alicia surfaced on August 14 and has denied claims that she was missing and was kidnapped by Anakbayan. She said she joined Anakbayan voluntarily.

Assistant State Prosecutor Christine Perolino has required Colmenares along with Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago, Anakbayan spokesperson Alex Danday and other members of the youth groups to appear during the preliminary investigation of the DOJ on August 27, September 10 and 24. —AAC

Guevarra clarifies task force probe on anomalous gov’t transactions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 24, 2020

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra has clarified that the anti-corruption task force is aimed at probing anomalous activities in government offices and not on individuals.

This was after President Rodrigo Duterte announced he has a list of names of lawmakers allegedly involved in the corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“So, Mr. President, it’s not really the person who is being investigated but a particular transaction na maaari pong kasama o may involvement itong (which might be involved) any member of the government which is outside of the executive department,” he said.

He also clarified that the Task Force Against Corruption does not have the said list of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

However, Guevarra said the task force will conduct its own investigation once the Office of the Ombudsman has filed a case against individuals possibly involved in corruption.

Guevarra also said it will be up to the Ombudsman if they plan to disclose the names of lawmakers possibly involved in an anomaly.

Meanwhile, according to the PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica, they do not cover investigation on Congressmen but based on the investigation they are conducting on the DPWH, there are lawmakers linked to the alleged anomalies in the department.

“Just to clarify, we are not conducting any investigation against members of Congress because our jurisdiction only covers presidential appointees. But we will submit the report for proper investigation.  It was during the course of the investigation that some congressmen were implicated. Not all, but some,” he said in a statement. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Gov’t officials not obligated to submit SALN to anti-corruption task force —Sec. Guevarra

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Government officials are not obligated to submit their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) to the anti-corruption task force led by the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

In a statement, Guevarra clarified that a SALN will only be required if a government official is included in the task force’s investigation.

The DOJ official made the statement after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced its officials and other staff will submit their SALNs to the DOJ.

“We are not requiring other agencies to submit the SALNs of their officials and employees to the TFAC […] the submission by the DOTr of the SALNs of its officials and employees to the task force is purely the DOTr’s initiative,” he said.

Based on the DOJ report, the DOTr is included in the list of government agencies that is allegedly involved in corruption.

Other agencies include the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The Anti-Corruption Task Force is currently evaluating reports filed regarding corruption complaints in various government offices. — AAC (from the report of Dante Amento)

NBI to probe killing of Manila RTC judge

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday said it has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the case of a Manila court judge who was killed inside her office last Wednesday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the NBI will probe “all possible angles and motives” and “make recommendations to the supreme court on improving security measures in all halls of justice, court rooms, and premises.”

Judge Maria Teresa Abadilla of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 45 was shot inside her chamber by her clerk of court, Atty. Amador Rebato, who allegedly shot himself during the incident.

She was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead.

“Though Judge Abadilla’s death appears to have arisen from an internal issue with her clerk of court, I have, nonetheless, directed the NBI to conduct a parallel probe considering that the incident has implications on the personal security of our judges and justices,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, welcomed Guevarra’s move.

“Pwede naman talaga investigate yung NBI because a crime has been committed. But we are also investigating and reviewing court policies,” Court Administrator Midas Marquez said.

He added that Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has ordered the implementation of stricter measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

“The passing of Judge Abadilla is indeed a big loss to the judiciary because I personally know her to be an upright and highly competent magistrate,” Peralta said in a statement on Wednesday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento

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