Aguirre should be held responsible, says PACC
Junking of drug case
The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has stopped short of recommending to President Rodrigo Duterte the suspension of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II for his supposed role in the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s controversial dismissal of complaints against drug lords.
In its recommendation forwarded to Malacañang on Tuesday, the PACC saved Aguirre from being placed on the President’s chopping block because he had not approved the resolution recommending the dismissal of the drug complaint against alleged drug lords Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa.
“Si Secretary Aguirre, pag tiningnan mo ang proseso, talagang hindi pa umabot sa kanya eh. [It’s] not to say na wala siyang responsibility. Of course, secretary ka e. Drug case to. Pero sa tinakbuhan ng papel, wala pa sa kanya eh,” PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said in a press conference in Manila. [As for Secretary Aguirre, when you look at the process, the document had not reach him yet. It’s not to say that he has no responsibility. Of course, he’s the secretary. This is a drug case. But the paper had not reached him yet.]
“So how can you blame someone na wala pa sa kanya [who had no involvement in the dismissal]? ” he added.
The PACC proposed to the President the preventive suspension of Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John M. Humarang; Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex F. Gingoyon, who endorsed the complaint’s approval; and former Acting Prosecutor General Jorge G. Catalan, who approved the complaint.
The body also recommended a lifestyle check against former Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes, who is now a judge at the Lucena Regional Trial Court. The PACC noted that the President could no longer suspend Reyes, being already part of the judiciary.
The prosecutors, Belgica said, violated Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) because the decision was greatly disadvantageous to the government.
Belgica said that, while Aguirre should be held responsible for the hullabaloo, recommending his suspension would be too great a penalty.
“Dapat talaga [managot]. Pero para i-suspend natin siya o recommend siya for suspension, yung gravity ng kasalanan ibintang natin sa bigat ng kasalanan ng mga prosecutor eh hindi naman parehas ang ginawa,” he said. [He should be held liable for it. But to suspend him or recommend him for suspension, his liability is not of the same level with the liability of the prosecutors.].
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