DOJ: Sinas probe to go on
MANILA, Philippines — The investigation into the complaint against the Philippine National Police chief, Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, for alleged violation of quarantine measures will continue despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that he would pardon Sinas if found liable.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Sunday explained that the complaint against Sinas, which is still pending preliminary investigation by Taguig City prosecutors, has to be submitted to the court and the court has to resolve the case, a process that can take months or even years, before the President can grant executive clemency.
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) or prosecutor has to complete the process of preliminary investigation. Executive clemency may come only after a finding of guilt. If there’s no finding of guilt, there’s no room for the application of executive clemency,” Guevarra told reporters.
President Duterte on Saturday said he would pardon Sinas if found liable for the complaint because Sinas did not commit anything that had “moral implications or malice” and the birthday celebration, called “mañanita,” in May was not the police general’s fault. “If he’s found liable for it, I would pardon him,” the President said.
“‘If he has fault’ indicates that the President will wait for a finding of fault or guilt after a proper proceeding, whether administrative or criminal,” Guevarra said.
He added that Duterte “is very much aware” that a case is still pending and “is merely indicating his intent to act with liberality, in consideration of General Sinas’ overall performance as a career police officer.”
“I didn’t hear what the President said exactly. I need to know the context, but whatever it was that the President said about his intent to pardon General Sinas, the DOJ will do what it is duty-bound to do, and the President may also do what he is constitutionally authorized to do,” added Guevarra.
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