PACC wants dismissal of fiscals who junked case vs. Lim, Espinosa

MANILA — The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Tuesday recommended the preventive suspension of all prosecutors involved in the dismissal of the criminal complaint filed against businessman Peter Lim, confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, and their alleged accomplices.

The commission is also recommending a show cause for police officers who filed what was described as a “weak” case, and vowed to conduct a lifestyle check on erring officials.

PACC Spokesperson and Commissioner Greco Belgica said the commission has submitted its recommendation to President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday morning.

“We are here to say the commission en banc has recommended for the preventive suspension of all prosecutors who handled the case and to show cause against police who filed what we call as a weak case,” Belgica said in a press conference at the Manila Yacht Club.

“We will be conducting a lifestyle check against these erring officials so to speak,” he added.

Belgica said the PACC has also recommended the coordination between investigating prosecutors and police in case buildup.

“It is also part of our recommendation to revert back to the old system and old thinking that the prosecutor and police should help each other in building up a case,” Belgica sad.

Belgica, meanwhile, said the lifestyle check will not yet include Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

“Secretary Aguirre, If you look at the process, it didn’t really reach him. Not to say he doesn’t have any responsibility but in the paper trail, it didn’t reach him. So how can you blame someone if it never reached him? Belgica said.

However, he said that the PACC has a current resolution that allows them to conduct a nationwide lifestyle check among all government officials.

Aguirre earlier apologized to prosecutors involved in the dismissal of charges against Espinosa, Lim and other drug personalities “for causing the investigation, because extraordinary times or extraordinary incidents call for extraordinary solutions or at least, measures.”

The Justice chief had ordered that prosecutors be investigated after charges against Espinosa, Lim, and other alleged drug personalities were dropped earlier this month.

Belgica, however, said he did not want to interpret Aguirre’s apology as it was done on his own discretion.

Last October, Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 43 creating the PACC, which is mandated “to directly assist the President in investigating and/or hearing administrative cases primarily involving graft and/or corruption against all presidential appointees.”

The PACC has the “power, on a complaint, or motu proprio, and concurrently with the Office of the Ombudsman, to hear, investigate, receive, gather, and evaluate evidence, intelligence reports and information in administrative cases against all presidential appointees.”