Ex-DOJ official in Bilibid drug mess left PH ‘for health reasons’
Former Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, one of the officials who have been linked by President Rodrigo Duterte to the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison, has left the country even before the House of Representatives investigation has started.
His son and namesake Francis Baraan IV, however, pointed out that his father flew to the United States for medical reasons and not to run away from the controversy.
“My father, former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, left the country for health and medical reasons, on Aug. 25, 2016, which is many days before the House of Representatives began its probe on the alleged drug trade in Bilibid, and days before President Duterte himself tagged him in his drug matrix, in one of his press cons,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
He said his father did not even know that there would be a congressional inquiry, but he assured that the elder Baraan would face the accusations “in a real court of law.”
“Rest assured, he isn’t running away from anything, or avoiding any possible prosecution. He would face all allegations and issued against him in a real court of law—not in a court of ‘trial by publicity’—if and when somebody actually files (a) formal complaint against him,” he said.
The younger Baraan issued the statement on behalf of his father after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II announced in a House hearing that the former official was in the US.
The former justice undersecretary has denied being involved in the illegal drugs trade as alleged by Duterte.
“It was something I totally cannot imagine myself being involved in; it contradicts the deepest Christian values I hold dear,” he said as he asked for “fairness and due process, a chance to vindicate myself in a formal proceeding.”
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