DOJ will support probe on alleged anomalies during the past administration — De Lima

July 26, 2010 8:47 pm 

By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.

MANILA, July 26 — Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said on Monday the Department of Justice will support with adequate resources the investigation of alleged anomalous transactions committed during the past administration.

Secretary De Lima issued the statement in reaction to the State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) delivered by President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III at the joint opening session of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the 15th Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

In his speech, the Chief Executive mentioned several irregularities allegedly committed by the administration of his predecessor.

Meanwhile, De Lima said there are smuggling and tax evasion charges filed before the DOJ.

She said the first tax evasion case filed under the Aquino administration involved a pawnshop owner who allegedly evaded taxes due the government amounting to P22.5 million.

It was followed by smuggling charges against two traders involving some P300 million.

"We have an understanding with the Bureau of Internal Revenue/Bureau of Customs that at the level of the DOJ, the preliminary investigation will take about a period of 45 days," De Lima said.

De Lima said that the DOJ is now in the process of filing criminal charges for three out of the six extra-judicial killings committed so far during the present administration.

De Lima also noted that the Ombudsman is an independent constitutional body that must fulfill its mandate.

At the same time, Secretary De Lima said a P6-billion budget is needed by the DOJ for the year 2011.

She noted that they would need substantial resources to carry on with the DOJ's mandate.

De Lima also said she will advocate and lobby with the Liberal Party (LP) members of Congress for the enactment into law of the Witness Protection Program (WPP) Bill.

On the creation of the Truth Commission, De Lima said the DOJ will act as attorney general who will gather evidence and data to be submitted to the commission.

The commission will be headed by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., with former SC justices as members. (PNA) scs/PTR

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