Manila, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DoJ) has formally launched its investigation into the alleged crimes committed by Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile such as human rights violations during Martial Law and his involvement in smuggling activities inside the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority alleged by his colleague Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.
A seven-member Department of Justice-National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) task force has been created by Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima in response to the request of Miriam to probe Enrile for the various crimes he allegedly committed.
“Hindi kasi pwedeng ipagsantabi lang (natin) yung mga naging alegasyon ni Sen. Miriam. Those are very serious allegations that the day after she delivered that privilege speech ay nagpadala agad ng formal request sa akin,” De Lima said.
“We might be accused of dereliction of duty if we don’t act on it. If we ignore that request,” she added.
In Department Order No. 994, De Lima named DoJ Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, former private prosecutor during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, as the chairperson of the DoJ-NBI task force.
Also named as members of the DoJ-NBI task force were Assistant State Prosecutors Niven Canlapan and Nolibien Quiambao, State Counsel IV Adonis Sulit, State Counsel I Charles Romulus Cambaliza; and NBI Anti-Graft Division agents lawyers Jonathan Mengullo and Catherine Camposano.
“The special task force is mandated to evaluate the evidence gathered and recommend possible courses of action or legal processes including, but not limited to, the filing of the appropriate criminal complaints as the evidence may warrant for purposes of the conduct of the corresponding preliminary investigation, and request for investigation by the Anti-Money Laundering Council,” the DoJ said.
In a privilege speech last December 4, Miriam accused Enrile of being responsible for the deaths and disappearances of students and activists during Martial Law when he served as Defense Minister. (Leonard D. Postrado)