The Supreme Court did not accept the resignation of one of the judges implicated by President Rodrigo Duterte as protectors of illegal drugs in the country.
The 15-member bench on Tuesday also recalled its earlier directive for the Office of the Executive Secretary to file formal complaints against the four so-called “narco-judges,” and instead invited Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Isidro Lapeña to submit complaint-affidavits against them.
In an en banc order, the SC said Dela Rosa and Lapeña must submit the complaints within “seven days from receipt of this order” after it treated the speech of Duterte naming the personalities allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade as information against Judge Exequil Dagala, MTC, Dapa-Socorro in Siargao island; Judge Adriano Savillo, RTC, Branch 30, Iloilo City; Judge Domingo Casiple, RTC, Branch 7, Kalibo, Aklan; and Judge Antonio Reyes, RTC, Branch 1, Baguio City.
The SC also directed the four judges to reply within seven days from receipt of the complaint-affidavits and told retired SC Associate Justice Roberto Abad to “issue notices of hearing to the four judges and all other necessary parties upon commencement of the investigation.”
The high court tapped Abad to spearhead the fact-finding investigation of the four judges. He has 30 days to submit the results of the probe from receipt of the answers of the said judges.
The SC also ordered Abad, the secretariat of the fact-finding team and all SC officials and parties to treat with confidentiality the proceedings in the investigation of the case.
SC spokesman Theodore Te revealed that Dagala submitted his irrevocable resignation last August 8 to Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, but this was denied by the justices during their regular en banc session.
Te said the resignation of Dagala was not accepted because he was the subject of administrative investigation even before he was mentioned by Duterte.
“He remains under the jurisdiction of the Court as far as administrative discipline is concerned and will be subject to the fact-finding investigation to be conducted by retired Justice Roberto Abad,” Te said.
Dagala is one of the seven judges linked by Duterte to the illegal drugs trade, but the Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno has issued a statement saying that only four of the seven are in active duty.
Meanwhile, the SC has also suspended a judge that was not on Duterte’s list but is also being linked to the illegal drugs trade.
But the high court declined to divulge the identity of the judge pending the resolution of the administrative complaint that would be lodged against the latter.
“The judge will be facing a formal administrative complaint and has already been suspended until further notice. The identity cannot be revealed as administrative complaints are confidential in nature, until resolved,” the tribunal said.