Makabayan bloc to Aguirre: Resign!
Members of the House of Representatives Makabayan bloc dared Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to resign following the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) exoneration of suspected drug lords.
In a media briefing on Wednesday, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro condemned a DOJ panel resolution absolving of drug trafficking charges suspected drug triad boss Peter Lim, a “kumpadre” (wedding co-sponsor) of President Rodrigo Duterte, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, and several other suspected drug peddlers.
“Itong si Aguirre maang-maangan pa sya na mukhang di nya raw alam yung kinalabasan ng imbestigasyon. Kaya siguro, kung may delicadeza itong si Aguirre dapat mag-resign na sya bago sya sibakin ni Pangulong Digong at mag-concentrate ang ating gobyerno hindi sa pagtokhang ng mahihirapan kundi habulin yung mga smugglers at malalaking isda,” Castro said.
Castro issued the call even after Aguirre and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the charges against Espinosa, Lim and 20 others had not been dismissed with finality and was still subject to review.
“Wala pa pong pinal na desisyon,” said Roque.
READ: Case vs suspected drug lords ‘far from being final’ – Roque
Another ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio echoed this call saying the decision of the prosecutors was a “clear proof that Duterte’s war on drugs was fake.”
“Napakalinaw na patunay ito ng pagiging peke ng war on drugs ni Pangulong Duterte. Matagal na nating sinasabi na itong so-called war on drugs tinatarget lamang yung mga maliliit na user at pusher samantalang pinaaabswelto, pinapakawalan or pinoprotektahan ang mga malalaking drug lord,” he said.
“Para patunayang hindi ito paghuhugas-kamay siguro isa nyang dapat gawin eh sibakin nya na ang kanyang Justice Secretary na si Aguirre,” he added, noting that the decision not only exposed DOJ’s “incompetence” but also its “malfeasance.”
The DOJ panel dismissed the case against suspected drug lords citing the weak evidence presented by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the “inconsistencies” in the testimony of its lone witness, Marcelo Adorco.
The decision, approved by acting-Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr., was issued last Dec. 20, 2017, but was only discovered by media on Monday.
“Hindi pa tapos ang boksing. Wag po tayong magkaroon ng conclusion dahil mayroon pang proseso ng pag-aapila. Wala pa pong pinal na desisyon kung kakasuhan o hindi si Peter Lim. Yung mga ganyang salita po ay salitang politiko,” Roque said in a media briefing.
Aguirre has also ordered the creation of a new panel of prosecutors to review the resolution and has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the prosecutors who dismissed the drug case.
But Tinio questioned the review, saying all of these are “damage control” attempts.
“All of these are damage control. Disyembre pa yun eh, ngayon lang ire-review? Pagkatapos na malantad sa publiko at nakita ang public outrage sa kalokohan ng desisyon na ito. Wag na tayo magpaloko, lantad na ang katotohanan,” he added.
The law that created the National Prosecution Service empowers the Justice secretary to review cases handled by prosecutors to prevent a “probable miscarriage of justice.” /cbb
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