Aguirre faces mounting DOJ backlog
The Department of Justice is now facing 4,000 more cases than the 10,000 backlog Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II inherited when he assumed office 14 months ago.
This means the DOJ failed to resolve 333 cases every month, or 14 cases for each of 293 working days, since June 30, 2016.
Aguirre, a private lawyer before becoming justice secretary, blamed the increasing backlog on the lack of government prosecutors.
“We urgently need prosecutors here. We have more than 1,000 vacancies,” Aguirre said, adding the vacancies are double the number of vacancies a year ago.
“We need as much help as we can get to resolve this backlog of 14,000 cases,” he added.
Shortly after he assumed office in June, Aguirre complained that the DOJ needed 509 additional prosecutors and the processing of appointment papers was too slow for the pile up of cases.
In addition to the case backlog, Aguirre also has to address the legal matters that crop up from day to day, like the case of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista.
Aguirre has ordered the PCGG and the National Bureau of Investigation, two agencies under his supervision, to investigate PCGG transactions during Bautista’s term from 2010 to 2015.
But he admitted any adverse finding can only be filed as an administrative or criminal complaint after Bautista, who heads a constitutional agency, is impeached or resigns.
“He’s still an impeachable officer and immune from suit. The only suit that can be filed against him is an impeachment suit,” Aguirre told reporters.
He ordered the PCGG last week to probe the Commission on Audit’s report on unliquidated cash disbursements of more than P100 million from the PCGG’s dollar escrow account.
He also wanted an inquiry into reported abuse of sequestered and surrendered assets, including millions of pesos worth of gift checks and gift cards given to members of the media.
He also wants an investigation of kickbacks Bautista may have received from the alleged payment of excessive billings made to law firms connected to him.