DOJ wraps preliminary investigation on Kian delos Santos case

admin   •   October 27, 2017   •   5441

MANILA, Philippines — It was the last Department of Justice (DOJ) hearing on the death of Kian delos Santos, as the DOJ panel submitted the case for a resolution which will determine whether or not the policemen being implicated in the killing should be indicted.

Sixteen Caloocan cops are facing charges for murder, torture, and planting of evidence including PCP 7 Commander Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo.

Twelve of the policemen insisted they should not be charged since only three were present in the crime scene – namely, PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz.

Eight of them did not participate in the operation at all.

“If you will charge them just because they are members of PCP 7 of Caloocan, what kind of law do we have then? Kian’s parents are crying for justice, but what about the innocent cops,” said Atty. Oliver Yuan, the lawyer for the policemen.

The lawyer said that the Public Attorney’s Office should not rely on the findings of the PNP – internal affairs service (IAS) since it is only for administrative proceedings.

“They alleged in their joint reply that there was already a finding of the IAS that all of the respondents are liable. But in truth, there is no decision yet from the IAS,” said the lawyer.

But according to PAO, this is mere alibi of the police

“Those are self-serving allegations which are better threshed out in a trial because usually alibi is the weakest defense,” said Deputy Chief Public Attorney for Luzon. Atty. Howard Areza.

The policemen maintained Kian was killed after he engaged them in a shootout during a legitimate anti-drugs operation. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

NBI probes alleged COVID-19 deaths of high-profile inmates inside Bilibid

Marje Pelayo   •   July 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday (July 20) ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the alleged deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) of at least nine persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) including high-profile inmates at the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

In a statement issued by the DOJ, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gerald Bantag confirmed to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra in a meeting earlier in the day that a total of 21 PDLs died of COVID-19 since March of this year.

Bantag, however, assured Guevarra that standard protocols are being followed in the event of a death of an inmate from COVID-19 including the mandatory cremation within 12 hours to contain the spread of the virus. 

He also assured that health conditions within the penitentiary are under control and only five PDLs are in isolation at the Bureau’s largest isolation facility, ‘Site Harry.’

There were reports that high-profile inmates have died of COVID-19 and were cremated including drug lord Jaybee Sebastian who is set to testify in the illegal drug case against detained Senator Leila De Lima.

Bantag didn’t reveal details of what transpired in his meeting with Guevarra but he said the Bureau welcomes an independent investigation on the matter. 

DOJ Undersecretary Mark Perete later in the afternoon confirmed that indeed high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastion has died and has been cremated.

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed a resolution seeking to probe the deaths of the PDLs as there are ‘too many unanswered questions’ as regards the case including a report on the autopsy and why the Bureau did not inform the DOJ right away.

Before the day ended, the DOJ issued an authority to the NBI to conduct an investigation on the reported deaths of Sebastian and eight other convicts allegedly of COVID-19 and, “if evidence warrants, to file appropriate charges against all persons involved and found responsible for any unlawful act” in connection with the case.

Reacting to BuCor’s position of not disclosing the names of the concerned high-profile inmates citing privacy issues, Privacy Commissioner Raymond Liboro, on the other hand, stressed that the Data Privacy Act “is not a cloak for denying the public’s right to know.”

He said high-profile inmates like Sebastian had become public figures on account of their previous association with particular national issues in the past.

“There is a justified public interest to release information like details surrounding the deaths from COVID-19 of these high-profile inmates, especially when the personal information being sought is linked to issues already on the minds of the public,” Liboro said.

For its part, Malacañang through Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said it is letting Secretary Guevarra carry out the investigation on the matter. —MNP (with inputs from Dante Amento / Rosalie Coz / Rey Pelayo)

DOJ orders NBI to probe slay of suspended BuCor exec

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the killing of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal division chief Atty. Frederic Anthony Santos.

In a directive issued on Wednesday, February 19, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered and granted authority to NBI director Dante Gierran to conduct an investigation and case build-up against those behind the murder.

Santos was shot dead on Wednesday afternoon by unidentified gunmen while waiting to pick up his child in front of a school in Muntinlupa City, just a few meters away from the gate of the New Bilibid Prison.

He died instantly after sustaining gunshot wounds to head, neck and left arm based on an autopsy conducted by authorities.

Guevarra also ordered the NBI to file appropriate charges against persons found responsible for the crime if evidence warrants.

He also directed Gierran to submit to his office reports on the progress of the subject investigation and case build-up within 30 days.

In a separate statement, the DOJ chief said that Santos’ fatal shooting is still under investigation but is “very likely” connected to the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) issue.

Santos was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman last September 2019 in relation to the alleged misapplication of the GCTA law and other time credits to prisoners.

He was supposed to return to work in March after serving six months of suspension.

Santos was among the resource persons in a Senate Investigation into the GCTA mess.

Irregularities in the GCTA law application grabbed headlines following reports on the possible early release of former mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and her companion, Allan Sanchez in 1993 after his sentence of 7-term Reclusion Perpetua was shortened.

The issue led to the revelations of the release of some heinous crime convicts and the anomalies in the BuCor. It also led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as BuCor chief, and President Duterte to set a deadline for the surrender of nearly 2,000 GCTA-freed convicts or be hunted down by police.

DOJ to charge Albayalde, ninja cops over 2013 drug raid in Pampanga

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 17, 2020

Former Philippine National Police chief, General Oscar Albayalde

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of charges against former Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde and 12 so-called ninja cops over the 2013 drug raid in Pampanga.

The DOJ has found probable cause to indict Albayalde and 12 others for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

In a statement on Thursday (January 16), the DOJ maintained that the said personalities are in “violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations in connection with the official duties of the latter, and for causing any undue injury to any party, including the government.”

Albayalde, however, has been cleared of other charges, such as misappropriating confiscated drugs, falsifying public documents, and failure to prosecute police officers.

The 12 cops, on the other hand, will also be indicted for other charges including bribery, planting of evidence, as well as delay and bungling in the prosecution of drug cases.

The 12 police officers are Police Lt. Col. Rodney Raymundo Louie Juico Baloyo IV, Police Lt. Joven Bagnot De Guzman, Jr., Police Master Sgts. Jules Lacap Maniago, Donald Castro Roque, Ronald Bayas Santos, Rommel Muñoz Vital, Alcindor Mangiduyos Tinio, Eligio Dayos Valeroso, Dante Mercado Dizon; Police Staff Sgts. Dindo Singian Dizon, Gilbert Angeles De Vera, and Romeo Encarnacio Guerrero Jr.

The said officers were allegedly involved in seizing 200 kilos of illegal drugs during an anti-drug operation in Mexico, Pampanga in 2013.

In a statement, Albayalde welcomed the development and is confident that the truth will still prevail.

“I welcome this development as the chance to once and for all clear my name in the proper forum. Finally, I will have my day in court,” he said. “My conscience remains clear, and I am confident that the truth will bear me out in the end.”—AAC


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