Ochoa: Palace lawyers to help P-Noy decide on IIRC recommendations

September 22, 2010 10:09 am 

MANILA, Sept. 21 — Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said Tuesday the Palace legal team will assist President Benigno S. Aquino III "arrive at legally sound decisions" based on the report of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC).

In the 83-page report, the IIRC has recommended the possible filing of administrative and criminal charges against 10 government officials and three media men and television networks in connection with the mishandling of the August 23 hostage incident at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

Ochoa, who along with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa, has been tasked by the President to study the report, said the government's legal team has started going over the IIRC recommendations since the Chief Executive made it public last Monday.

"The President said it best. Our obligation is to our people, not to his friends and colleagues. We will be impartial, just and fair," Ochoa said. "And per the President's instruction and also to bring closure to this sad episode, we will submit our input when the President arrives from the United States."

The Executive Secretary emphasized that the final decision remains with President Aquino.

"The President, after going through the report and our input, will have the final say as to what sanctions to be imposed on those found liable," Ochoa said.

The President directed the legal team to specifically study the recommendations and specific charges to be filed against government and police officials, as well as media personalities and TV networks that were named in the report by the IIRC members.

The Executive Secretary clarified the role of the President's legal team is to help the President understand "the legal nuances concerning the IIRC report."

At the same time, the Executive Secretary thanked Justice Leila De Lima and other members of the IIRC for conducting the investigation and obtaining all the pertinent facts of the incident.

"I appreciate the hard work put in by Secretary De Lima and other members of the IIRC, who worked overtime to finish the report at the soonest time possible," Ochoa said. (PNA)

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