In a 23-page omnibus comment filed by the OSG, it asked the DOJ panel of prosecutors to uphold its authority as legal representative of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group – National Capital Region Field Unit (CIDG-NCRFU).
OVP/File
OSG asks to represent CIDG in sedition raps vs opposition
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General yesterday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to be allowed to represent the police complainants in the sedition charges filed against Vice President Leni Robredo and 35 others, a day after the opposition sought OSG’s disqualification from the case.

In a 23-page omnibus comment filed by the OSG, it asked the DOJ panel of prosecutors to uphold its authority as legal representative of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group – National Capital Region Field Unit (CIDG-NCRFU).

Furthermore, the OSG asked for the continuation of the preliminary investigation and for the prosecutors’ authority to conduct preliminary investigation on the sedition complaint to also be upheld.

It also asked the DOJ to deny the various omnibus motions filed by the respondents. 

The OSG said under Executive Order 292 on instituting the Administrative Code of 1987, they could represent a government agency such as the CIDG-NCRFU in preliminary investigation. 

The respondents had complained that there would be a conflict of interest if OSG represents the CIDG-NCRFU but the OSG said the respondents were misled. 

The government lawyer’s office explained that in this case, they would be representing the complainant and said that, “once a complaint is filed in court after the finding of probable cause, the real party-in-interest would be the People of the Philippines and no longer the CIDG-NCRFU.”

“In court, the case shall already be prosecuted under the direction and control of the prosecutors. There is no dispute that the People of the Philippines shall already be represented by the OSG in criminal proceedings in the Court of Appeals (CA) or in the Supreme Court (SC),” the OSG wrote.

“Verily, the OSG has the full authority to represent the CIDG-NCRFU in a preliminary investigation before the DOJ Special Panel of Prosecutors,” it added.

In separate motions earlier filed before the DOJ panel, former Otso Diretso senatorial bets Gary Alejano, Chel Diokno, Erin Tañada and lawyer Theodore Te asked for the disqualification of the OSG from the case.

They argued that the OSG is only authorized to represent the government in the SC and the CA in all criminal proceedings, citing the high court ruling Urbano vs. Chavez which ruled out that the OSG cannot appear in preliminary investigations. 

In its comment, the OSG also defended Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for creating the special panel of prosecutors that is conducting preliminary investigation into the sedition, inciting to sedition, cyber libel, estafa and obstruction of justice complaints.  

The respondents said that the DOJ secretary’s authority is purely supervisory and that Guevarra does not have any power to act directly on the CIDG-NCRFU complaint since his authority is limited to cases involving violation of national security or probable miscarriage of justice. 

Earlier, Alejano also questioned the authority of the justice secretary in creating the panel of prosecutors hearing the complaint. 

The OSG responded: “respondents are constructing a myopic, if not restrictive, interpretation of the law.”

Sen. Leila de Lima, meanwhile, branded the OSG as “illegal and improper” for its desire to appear as counsel for the police in the raps against opposition figures.

In a 13-page motion filed last Aug. 14, De Lima has asked the DOJ to disallow Solicitor General Jose Calida from representing the CIDG. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE LENI ROBREDO OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL SEDITION
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