MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) insisted Wednesday that it has jurisdiction over the drug trafficking case against Senator Leila de Lima, who argued that the complaint should have been filed with the Office of the Ombudsman, and not an agency that she said is headed by a “master of fakery.”
Speaking to radio DZMM, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II pointed out that the DOJ and Ombudsman have “concurrent jurisdiction” or the authority to review a complaint at the same time.
“Ayon po sa mga batas at iba-ibang desisyon ng Supreme Court, concurrent ang jurisdiction ng DOJ at Ombudsman. Kaya po iyan (De Lima’s case) pwedeng dinggin ng DOJ, pwede ring dinggin ng Ombudsman,” he explained.
“Kung ang nag-file ng kaso ay gusto sa DOJ, obligasyon po namin na dinggin ang preliminary investigation niyan.”
[According to our laws and various decisions of the Supreme Court, the jurisdiction of the DOJ and Ombudsman is concurrent. So De Lima's could be tried by the DOJ and also by the Ombudsman... If the petitioner wants to file the case before the DOJ, it is our obligation to conduct preliminary investigation.]
Aguirre also noted that De Lima herself, as Justice secretary of the Aquino administration, also lodged with the DOJ several cases which are cognizable by other courts.
“Noong siya ang Secretary of Justice ganoon din naman ang ginagawa niya. Iyung mga kaso na cognizable by the Sandiganbayan o sinasabi niyang dapat sa Ombudsman ini-file, diyan din po nafa-file sa kanya sa DOJ,” he said, citing as example the raps against Janet Lim Napoles, alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam.
[When she was still Secretary of Justice, she did the same. The cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan or those she said should be filed before the Ombudsman, were filed before the DOJ.]
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Tuesday sued De Lima for her alleged involvement in the supposed multi-million peso illegal drug network ran by inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
While De Lima said she “welcomes” the filing of the case, she also argued that the proponents were only “wasting time” since the DOJ will eventually submit it to the Ombudsman for further investigation.
She also suggested that the VACC may have malicious motives for filing the complaint with the DOJ, which she accused of fabricating evidence against her.
“Unless they have other reasons for filing it with the DOJ instead of the Ombudsman. Maybe because that is the domain of Aguirre, the master of fakery. Justice under Aguirre is fake,” De Lima said.