DOJ chief enjoys Arroyo ‘trust’–Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez continues to enjoy the “trust and confidence” of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo despite the bribery scandal his office is facing, the President’s spokesman said on Monday.
“Secretary Gonzalez enjoys the trust and confidence of the President,” deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said, as the Palace rejected calls from the political opposition for the justice chief to resign.
“Some critics of the administration will always ask [for] the head of the leaders in the Cabinet. They are just waiting for an issue or mistake [from government officials] to pursue their agenda,” he said.
Pursuant to the President’s order, justice undersecretary Ricardo
Blancaflor, Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño, and state prosecutors John Resado and Misael Ladaga went on leave.
The prosecutors handled the case of suspected drug pushers Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph, and Joseph Tecson, which they eventually dismissed. Blancaflor allegedly followed up on the suspects’ release from detention.
The three scions of prominent families, who reportedly supplied drugs to upscale Metro Manila nightclubs, allegedly tried to bribe agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to drop the charges against them.
The PDEA Director General, Dionisio Santiago, and one of his agents, Marine Major Ferdinand Marcelino, confirmed the bribe attempts during a congressional inquiry.
Unlike the DOJ officials, Golez said the PDEA officers involved in the bribery controversy did not need to go on leave.
“There’s no point of having or taking a leave of absence from the PDEA side because they are not the ones being accused,” he said.
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