VACC lawyer, Sereno accuser Manuelito Luna gets gov't post

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
VACC lawyer, Sereno accuser Manuelito Luna gets gov't post
Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption lawyer Manuelito Luna was appointed as commissioner of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission on April 17.
Facebook.com / Volunteers against Crime and Corruption page

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption lawyer Manuelito Luna to the Office of the President's anti-corruption body.

Luna was appointed as commissioner of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commision on April 17.

Luna, who once sought Duterte’s disqualification as presidential candidate in the 2016 elections, has since filed complaints against several public officials and personalities deemed as “enemies” and critical of the current administration.

The lawyer sought the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through an impeachment complaint—eventually dismissed by the Congress—and a letter urging the Office of the Solicitor General to initiate a quo warranto proceeding against the chief magistrate.

The Supreme Court justices held a one-day oral argument on Solicitor General Jose Calida’s ouster petition on April 10 in Baguio City.

Luna also sought the Office of the Ombudsman to file graft complaints against Sereno over her appointment as chief justice in 2012.

He also served as legal counsel in criminal and graft complaints against former President Benigno Aquino III over the use of anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia. He also tagged several Cabinet members of the past administration in the complaint he filed before the Department of Justice.

The lawyer also filed sedition, inciting coup d’etat and inciting undue injury complaints against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. The Pasay City prosecutor’s office indicted the senator on a sedition charge.

Luna also filed an impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales last year, but his complaint did not draw any endorsement from a lawmaker.

The VACC lawyer also accused Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang of “falsely and maliciously claiming” that the Anti-Money Laundering Council had released a report on Duterte’s alleged bank deposits.

The Palace issued a suspension order against Carandang, but the Office of the Ombudsman maintained that it would not enforce the suspension.

What is the PACC?

Duterte created the PACC through Executive Order No. 43 issued on October 5 last year.

The commission is tasked to look into the lavish lifestyles and graft and corruption activities of public officials.

The creation of the government body came following Duterte's tirades against Ombudsman Conchita Morales and her officials who earlier announced that they would conduct a fact-finding probe into allegations of his hidden wealth.

The PACC is headed by Dante Jimenez, who is also the chair of the VACC.

Luna and Jimenez are joined by Greco Belgica and Eduardo Bringas—both of whom are also complainants and accusers of administration critics in several cases.

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