In this file photo taken July 2, 2019, Solicitor General Jose Calida talks to reporters before the oral arguments on the plea for Writ of Kalikasan over some parts of the West Philippine Sea. Joy Patag
OSG slams Saguisag, defends taking PNP-CIDG as client in sedition complaint
( - August 9, 2019 - 5:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General reiterated that serving the police as complainant is within its duties, as its authority during the preliminary investigation into the sedition complaint was questioned earlier Friday.

In a statement, the OSG maintained that rendering legal assistance to the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, that accused more than 30 people of committing sedition, is “well within the bounds of law.”

READ: Respondents: Why is OSG at preliminary probe on sedition raps?

It stressed that the office is “bound to serve its clients in any matter, which, in its opinion, affects the welfare of the State and the Filipino people, as the ends of justice may require.”

The OSG also slammed former Sen. Rene Saguisag, legal counsel of Sen. Risa Hontiveros, for his “gutter talk.”

“Whatever personal misgivings he has in connection with official proceedings should best be kept to himself,” the OSG, primary lawyer of the government of tough-talking Duterte, added.

During the preliminary investigation proceeding at the Department of Justice earlier Friday, Saguisag raised before the panel that the OSG is the tribune of the people, and should not act as a “lapdog” of the government.

The police’s complaint named more than 30 respondents—all notably vocal critics of the government—and accused them of conspiring to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Robredo asks DOJ to order police to produce evidence in sedition rap

Administrative code

The OSG also rebutted Saguisag and said the office’s mandate, as provided by Administrative Code of 1987, “is broad in scope.”

The Administrative Code provides that the solicitor general is “the principal law officer and legal defender of the government.” It shall also represent "the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of a lawyer."

READ: Potential OSG involvement in 'Bikoy' affidavit 'perfectly normal,' Gadon says

The OSG stressed that its authority recognizes only a “few limitations,” such as representing local government units and a public official accused in a criminal case.

“Mr. Saguisag should be reminded that several personalities are charged with crimes against Government and public order,” the OSG added.

The same adminnistrative code states that the OSG shall "[r]epresent the Government in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in all criminal proceedings; represent the Government and its officers in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and all other courts or tribunals in all civil actions and special proceedings in which the Government or any officer thereof in his official capacity is a party."

This means that should the case reach the Court of Appeals, the OSG would represent the DOJ.

The proceeding is currently at the preliminary investigation stage, and has yet to reach any court. — Kristine Joy Patag

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