Robredo: No bias vs OIC aspirants with cases
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Individuals facing criminal cases won’t be removed from a list of aspirants for officer in charge (OIC) positions in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said here on Monday.
Robredo, who heads the committee that is screening individuals applying for ARMM positions, said a pending criminal case won’t automatically disqualify any aspirant.
“It doesn’t follow that once you have a case, you are guilty. A complaint or pending case will not disqualify them. There’s always a presumption of innocence,” Robredo said.
He was responding to a question raised during a forum here on the Aquino administration’s campaign to institute massive reforms in ARMM, including removing incumbent officials and replacing them with OICs.
Two nominees for OIC governor of ARMM are facing criminal charges—Mujiv Hataman and Eid Kabalu.
Hataman, a former party-list representative of Anak Mindanao, is facing charges after he was linked to the November 2004 assassination in a bomb attack of then Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar. Akbar was killed when a motorcycle bomb went off as he was waiting for his car at the driveway of the House of Representatives.
Kabalu, former head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) civil-military affairs, is facing criminal cases along with other MILF leaders in connection with several cases of violence in Central Mindanao and other parts of ARMM.
According to Robredo, the backgrounds of individuals who are on the list of aspirants for OIC positions would be further checked “to determine the nature and status of their cases.”
He said the National Bureau of Investigation would help verify the aspirants’ backgrounds and the cases that they are facing.
“We need to examine what the cases are, but we’d rather not disqualify them automatically. We’d rather look at how serious the cases are,” he said, adding that “local officials without cases are very rare.”
While those with criminal cases are still in the running for appointment as OICs, Robredo said those involved in scandals were automatically removed from the list of aspirants.
He did not explain what these scandals were or who were removed from the list because of these. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao
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