Prosecutors: PACC suspension recommendation ‘premature’
Prosecutors who recommended the dismissal of the drug case against Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa and several others said the recommendation by the Presidential Anti Corruption Commission (PACC) for their suspension was premature.
Nevertheless, Assistant State Prosecutors Michael John M. Humarang and Aristotle M. Reyes, now Lucena Regional Trial Court judge, said they were ready to face the allegations raised by the PACC.
The PACC has recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte that Humarang, Reyes together with Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex F. Gingoyon and acting Prosecutor General Jorge G. Catalan be preventively suspended and prosecuted for violation of the Anti Graft Law.
Gingoyon endorsed the dismissal of the complaint while Catalan approved the recommendation.
“We’re just doing our sworn duty and we are ready to face the allegations against us,” Humarang and Reyes said in a statement
The two maintained that they followed the law and the rules when they conducted the preliminary investigation on Lim, Espinosa and others accused — many of whom had repeatedly been publicly tagged by Duterte as drug personalities.
“We conducted the preliminary investigation in accordance with the applicable rules, and our resolution was based only on the evidence presented to us,” they said.
“During the preliminary investigation, the complainant was given all the opportunity to present its case. Under the present rules, we have no authority to procure evidence on complainant’s behalf,” they added.
The two pointed out that they could not file a case based only “on the inconsistent and contradictory statements of complainant’s lone witness.”
“Additional and credible evidence should have been submitted by the complainant to strengthen its case and justify the filing of criminal charges against the respondents in court,” the two said.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre defended the prosecutors and apologized for ordering the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate them.
A new panel was also created to conduct further preliminary investigation wherein the police has another opportunity to submit additional evidence.
“Given that the case under consideration has not yet attained finality, the recommendation of the PACC is somehow still premature,” Humarang and Reyes said. /cbb
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