This file photo shows the New Bilibid Prison.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, File
Ombudsman orders ‘exhaustive’ probe into BuCor mess
( - September 5, 2019 - 6:53pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman ordered an “exhaustive” investigation of Bureau of Corrections officials involved in the early release of heinous crime convicts.

“Pursuant to the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman to prioritize involving grave offenses, Ombudsman [Samuel] Martires has directed its investigators to undertake a thorough and expeditious investigation [into] the matter,” the agency said in a statement Thursday.

The office said its investigators have already obtained data and documents from BuCor. Documents from the Department of Justice, Senate and other agencies are also being gathered.

Ombudsman announced the start of its formal probe a day after President Rodrigo Duterte fired former BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon for approving the release of heinous crimes convicts. Duterte on Wednesday called for an investigation to be handled by the Ombudsman.

At least 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes have been granted release since 2014. The chief executive wants them to surrender.

The reported early of convicted rapist and killer Antonio Sanchez drew public outrage, compelling Congress to investigate and the chief executive to sack Faeldon.

Ombudsman wants sole jurisdiction

The Ombudsman also said that the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission should yield jurisdiction to the Ombudsman to probe the BuCor mess.

“Since the Ombudsman has assumed jurisdiction over this case, no other agency is allowed to conduct a parallel investigation unless so authorized by the Ombudsman pursuant to law,” Martires said.

He stressed that PACC should defer to the authority of the Ombudsman to conduct the investigation to “avoid any possible conflicting findings.”

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