MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said she will create a panel to conduct a preliminary investigation of the Sandiganbayan Associate Justices who were slapped with a criminal complaint for approving the plea bargain agreement between Carlos Garcia and the Office of the Ombudsman.
De Lima said she acknowledges that the Supreme Court has overall jurisdiction over members of the judiciary from judges to justices. But she pointed out that a “criminal complaint under the Revised Penal Code is recognizable by the Department of Justice.”
“The [DoJ] has the authority to investigate and prosecute violations of the law,” she declared. “If, in relation to their work, the Ombudsman has full jurisdiction, the DoJ may have concurrent jurisdiction so unless taken out by the Ombudsman, the DoJ must take cognizance to the case. We will create a panel,” De Lima said.