DOJ sustains OSG authority to represent PNP in Bikoy hearings

The Department of Justice on Friday ruled that the Office of the Solicitor General can represent the Philippine National Police during the preliminary investigation into the sedition charges filed against Vice President Leni Robredo and several other opposition leaders tagged in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.

In an order, the panel of prosecutors handling the cases denied the motion filed by Senator Leila de Lima, former congressman Gary Alejano, and lawyers Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, Theodore Te, Lorenzo “Erin” Reyes Tañada III who questioned the presence of OSG lawyers during the DOJ hearings.

“The panel deems it prudent not to make any determination as to the qualification or authority of the OSG to represent complainant CIDG as this issue remains particularly contentious,” the prosecutors said.

“In this view, the panel holds that it is not within its powers to disqualify OSG from representing CIDG in these proceedings,” they added.

But the panel of prosecutors qualified that the motion’s denial was without prejudice to actions the respondents may take before the proper forum.

The respondents claimed that the OSG was devoid of authority to represent the PNP since its mandate was limited to representing government in criminal cases before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

Previouslt, the OSG has reiterated that it can represent the in the sedition complaint filed against opposition leaders.

“..the OSG has the full authority to represent the CIDG-NCRFU (National Capital Region Field Unit) in a preliminary investigation before the DOJ (Department of Justice) Special Panel of Prosecutors,” the OSG’s omnibus motion filed before a panel of prosecutors read in part.

The OSG cited as its basis Executive Order 292 which stated that: “The Office of the Solicitor General shall represent the Government of the Philippines and its officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of lawyers.”

It likewise invoked the country’s Administrative Code, which provided that the OSG can “act and represent the Republic and/or the people before any court, tribunal, body or commission in any matter, action or proceeding which, in his opinion, affects the welfare of the people as the ends of justice may require.”

“The gravity and seriousness of the offense/s, not to mention the personalities involved in plotting to topple the duly constituted government and overthrow its duly elected President will essentially and necessarily effects the general welfare. Hence, to ensure that the respondents who probable committed a crime against the State, should be indicted in court and bring forth to justice,” the OSG explained.

Just recently, the PNP filed slew of charges against Vice President Leni Robredo, former senator Antonio Trillanes, de Lima, and scores of others that included priests and lawyers, before the DOJ for sedition/inciting to sedition, cyber-libel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal, and obstruction of justice.

In a three-page letter-complaint, the PNP accused the respondents of engaging Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy to spread lies against President Duterte and his family to make them appear as protectors of the illegal drugs trade, and earn huge amount of money in the process.

Also, the PNP claimed the respondents were involved in an alleged seditious act which was supposedly committed in Jesuits Communication Building at the Ateneo de Manila compound were they planned to spread false information against Duterte to agitate the public to stage mass protest.

The PNP stressed that the group’s objective was to bring down the Duterte government and install Robredo as new president.

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