Otso Diretso bets ask DOJ to disqualify OSG in sedition case
MANILA, Philippines — Otso Diretso senatorial candidates have asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to disqualify the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) from participating in the sedition case before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Former Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and fellow opposition candidates and Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) lawyers Erin Tañada and Chel Diokno as well as former Supreme Court Spokesman Theodore Te cited conflict of interest and lack of authority on the part of the OSG.
The OSG is the legal counsel of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) that filed the sedition complaint against 36 officials and individuals, including Vice President Leni Robredo, for their alleged participation in the “Project Sodoma” that allegedly aims to remove President Rodrigo Duterte from Malacanang.
“The PNP-CIDG has a service with lawyers in its ranks at disposal. There is no justification for the intervention of OSG in these proceedings, especially considering patent lack of authority as well as highly probable conflict of interest,” read FLAG’s motion.
Both the FLAG lawyers and Alejano cited a Supreme Court ruling that states that the OSG may participate in criminal cases only when it has reached the appellate courts.
In his motion, Alejo explained the possible scenario with the OSG acting as counsel for complainant PNP-CIDG.
“If the preliminary investigation of the case is resolved in favor of respondents [Vice President Leni Robredo and more than 30 others], there is a likelihood that complainant elevates the ruling to the Court of Appeals for review,” read the motion.
When that happens, the OSG will act as counsel for the police and against the prosecution which is under the Department of Justice (DOJ), of which the OSG is an attached agency.
“In such eventuality, should the OSG act as counsel for the PNP-CIDG and against the Honorable DOJ to which the office is attached…Unless the OSG and the Honorable Panel could assure that the conflict will never occur, the OSG should be disqualified from appearing as counsel for the complainant,” read the motion.
“It is the office of the city, provincial or state prosecutor as the case may be and not the Office of the Solicitor General which attends to the investigation and the prosecution of criminal cases in the first instance,” the respondents said citing the Supreme Court ruling on the case of Urbano v. Chavez.
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