Pimentel urges DOJ chief to start probe vs irregularities of Arroyo administration

July 9, 2010 9:41 pm 

MANILA, July 9 —Former Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. on Friday urged Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to immediately start the investigation and prosecution of cases of corruption and other irregularities against officials of the Arroyo administration that have already been referred to the Department of Justice, instead of waiting for the formation of the Truth Commission.

Pimentel said De Lima, known for her decisiveness, impartiality and diligence in investigating violations of civil liberties during her chairmanship of the Commission on Human Rights, should not dilly dally on charges of anomalies that took place during the previous administration because agencies of the criminal justice system have sat on these cases for an inordinately long time to the point that the citizens have lost faith in the dispensation of justice.

“The DOJ should not commit the mistake of squandering time and opportunities in probing and resolving these cases because justice delayed is justice denied. An existing office with full powers to afford justice by giving way to a still-to-be-formed fact-finding Commission is bad policy,” he said.

For instance, he said the DOJ should now get the wheels of investigation moving with respect to the national broadband network-ZTE scandal, which was filed with the department by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casino last week.

Pimentel said the DOJ should not feel apprehensive that it may be preempting or encroaching on the functions of the “independent” Truth Commission, which was formed by President Benigno Aquino III to unearth the fraudulent and scandalous deals during the previous administration.

Moreover, he said there is no legal obstacle for the DOJ to tackle these cases because such task falls within its scope of its responsibilities.

“What is important is for the new government to produce results and to live up to its pledge to render fair and equal justice especially in corruption cases involving officials of the Arroyo administration that have been whitewashed or put in the freezer by investigation and prosecution agencies,” Pimentel said.(PNA) RMA/rudyma

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