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
MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday confirmed it is investigating Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta and Forensic Laboratory chief Dr. Erwin Erfe for alleged graft and corruption.
In a statement, the Ombudsman said it is currently conducting preliminary and administrative adjudication against Acosta and Erfe on corruption allegations within PAO including the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine issue.
The case stemmed from the complaints filed early this year by lawyer Wilfredo Garrido Jr. who sought for the suspension of Acosta and Erfe for allegedly committing corruption, falsification, malversation and illegal use of public funds or property.
The two PAO officials supposedly made money in alleged illegal purchases of office supplies for their crusade against Dengvaxia in 2018.
Acosta was also accused of using PAO budget to hold seminars at luxury hotels as she supposedly receives a commission for every gathering.
The Ombudsman said that after Garrido’s complaints were evaluated and docketed in April 2019, an order was immediately issued, directing the respondents to file their respective counter-affidavits.
“Records from the criminal and administrative cases show that respondents are facing criminal charges for violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(j) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices), Falsification by Public Officer, Malversation and Illegal Use of Public Funds or Property,” the statement read.
Administrative charges for Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty, Grave Abuse of Authority and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, were also leveled against Acosta and Erfe,” it added.
Acosta and Erfe have denied the allegations in a consolidated counter-affidavit they filed last April 30.
The Office of the Ombudsman said several other pleadings were filed by the respective parties during the course of the investigation, including the one signed by alleged “DOJ PAO lawyers.”
The Ombudsman said that as of August, the parties were directed to file their respective verified position papers containing their positions, supporting evidence and defenses.
“The corruption allegations against the high-ranking PAO officials will be judiciously scrutinized and the cases shall be resolved solely on the basis of the evidence presented by the parties,” Ombudsman Samuel Martires said.
Malacañang earlier said it will not interfere with the case.
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