TWO lawmakers on Thursday reiterated their call for Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente to initiate an investigation of public officials who have been accused of being involved in the illegal drug trade.
Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin, both lawyers, pressed the Office of the Ombudsman to use its motu proprio power to investigate the concerned public officials who are reportedly behind the proliferation of illegal drugs.
Acop, chairman of the House committee on public order and safety, said the Office of the Ombudsman should use its motu proprio power to give more teeth on President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.
“The Office of the Ombudsman has that power under the law creating it. It can even act on anonymous complaints against public officials. There is a process that it observes,” said Acop, a lawyer and ex-police general who served as comptroller.
Garbin, member of the House minority bloc, expressed a similar view.
He said the anti-graft body should do its job by running after public officials who are alleged protectors of drug syndicates.
Garbin said the Office of the Ombudsman should initiate an investigation on its own initiative to help curb the drug menace and ensure that public officials who may have been involved in the nefarious drug trade will face justice.
“Being a constitutional body and a watchdog [Ombudsman] who looks after our accountable public officials, it must conduct the probe motu proprio [on its own] even without a benefit of a complaint,” Garbin said.
“The Ombudsman should conduct the probe immediately given the magnitude of the drug problem. Dapat lahat at hindi lamang graft and corruption,” Garbin added.
Earlier, opposition lawmakers slammed what they described as the “deafening silence” of the Ombudsman on the possible involvement of public officials in drugs.
The Interior Department on Thursday ordered the National Police Commission to investigate police officials named by drug lord Kerwin Espinosa as “protectors” during a Senate hearing Wednesday.
“This is a serious matter, and it is incumbent upon the DILG through the Napolcom being the overseer of the PNP to immediately look and check the veracity of the allegations against our ranking police officers,” Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said.
“We welcome the Senate probe on the issue because we also want to know the truth,” he added.
Sueno said that PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has already put on floating status and confined at the Personnel and Holding and Accounting Unit in Camp Crame those that were identified by Espinosa during the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs hearing.
Among those mentioned during the hearing were Police Chief Insp. Leo Laraga of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)–Region 8, Supt. Marvin Marcos, head of CIDG-Region 8, Chief Insp. Wilfredo Abordo, P03 Dennis Torrefiel and a certain General Dolina also of Region 8.
The PNP-Internal Affairs Service (IAS) is also conducting its own investigation, he added.
Earlier, Sueno said the arrest of Espinosa and Senator Leila de Lima’s former lover and alleged bagman Ronnie Dayan will speed up the investigation of cases against local officials and other personalities linked to illegal drugs.