Arroyo to review dismissed drug cases
MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will soon be personally reviewing all drug cases whose dismissal has been approved by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez.
Administrative Order 18, signed by Arroyo on January 29, also said all dismissals of cases for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 “shall be stayed” pending the results of her review.
“All decisions and resolutions of the Secretary of Justice involving dismissal of cases under RA 9165 shall be subjected to the automatic review of the Office of the President [OP],” the order said.
“The entire records of the case shall be elevated by the Secretary of Justice to the OP within five days from the issuance of his decision or resolution,” it added.
The order takes effect 15 days from its publication.
Deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez, asked about the implications of the order, explained that, should the Office of the President find that a drug case should not have been dismissed, Arroyo can order the filing of charges against the suspects.
Arroyo recently appointed herself the country’s anti-drug “czar” in the wake of allegations that three high-profile drug suspects offered bribes to prosecutors pf justice department and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to dismiss the charges against them.
The suspects — Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph, and Jorge Tecson — allegedly supplied ecstasy and cocaine to high profile night clubs in Metro Manila.
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said he saw nothing wrong with Arroyo’s reviewing his decisions.
“That is not new. All decisions of all agencies under the executive can be reviewed by Malacañang,” Gonzalez said.
He explained that even without the order, Malacañang can review the decision of any agency if an appeal is filed with the Palace.
“Only this time, if it is a drug case, it will go on automatic review, [so there is] no need to file an appeal. That is what you call exhaustion of administrative remedies,” Gonzalez explained.
“Perhaps the President only wanted to see if the decision[s] of our prosecutors are correct. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Even without the AO, it will either go to Malacañang on appeal or the Court of Appeals through a petition for certiorari,” Gonzalez added.
View article as posted on INQUIRER.net