Aguirre recalls ‘midnight’ resolutions at DOJ
Aguirre recalls ‘midnight’ resolutions at DOJ
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has directed prosecutors to move to suspend court proceedings in case any of the concerned resolutions have been elevated to court

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered the recall of resolutions issued by his immediate predecessor from May 1 to June 20, 2016.

In Department Order No. 524, issued on August 3, Aguirre directed the Department of Justice to defer the implementation and execution of resolutions on motions for reconsiderations issued by former acting justice secretary Emmanuel Caparas.

Prior to Aguirre’s move, a businessman-turned-lawmaker and an anti-corruption watchdog had questioned the resolutions.

DO 534 was addressed to the prosecutor general, all senior deputy state prosecutors, senior assistant state prosecutors, assistant state prosecutors, prosecution attorneys and all regional, provincial, city prosecutors and their deputies, sand senior assistant and assistant prosecutors.

The order read: “In the interest of public service and pursuant to the provisions of existing laws [the said prosecutors] are hereby directed to defer the implementation and/or execution of all resolutions issued by then Secretary ofJustice Emmanuel L. Caparas from May 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016, with respect to motions for reconsiderations of resolutions issued on petitions for review pursuant to Section 13 of Department Circular No 70 (2000 National Prosecution Service Rule on Appeal), if a motion for reconsideration has been filed by the party or parties aggrieved by said resolutions issued by Secretary Caparas.”

The justice chief directed prosecutors to move to suspend court proceedings in case any of the concerned resolutions have been elevated to court.

He also ordered the DOJ Docket Section to turn over to his office all case records covered by the resolutions.

Earlier, businessman and newly-elected 1-Pacman Representative Michael Romero had asked Aguirre to defer the execution of a  so-called “midnight resolution” ordering the indictment of Romero and two others for alleged qualified theft for issuing P9 million in corporate checks.

Romero, Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Incorporated vice president and chief operating officer Edwin Jeremillo, and HCPTI chief finance officer Edwin Joseph Galvez, have insisted that their request is warranted as they have appealed the matter before the Office of the President.

Caparas issued the resolution related to the case on June 13, 2016. This resolution reversed the June 18, 2015 DOJ resolution that upheld the joint resolution issued by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Dacanay as acting City Prosecutor of Quezon City.

The joint resolution ordered the dismissal of the complaints filed against Romero, Jeremillo and Galvez.

The ownership of HCPTI, the company that operates the 10-hectare Manila Harbor Center Terminal, is being contested before various courts by Romero and his father, Reghis Romero II.

Anti-corruption watchdog Filipino Alliance for Transparency and Empowerment (FATE) earlier warned about the alleged midnight resolutions being issued by Caparas weeks before the new administration was to assume office, done for profit. Aguirre, however, said that FATE failed to support its allegations with evidence.

Caparas, who took over as acting DOJ secretary when Leila de Lima resigned last year to prepare for her senatorial bid, has denied the allegations. –

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