De Lima orders probe vs senior deputy prosecutor

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2012 12:56 PM | Updated as of Sep 08 2012 03:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines - An irate Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has ordered an investigation into the possible involvement of a Senior Deputy State Prosecutor (SDSP) in an alleged extortion incident involving a member of his staff last Friday.

Speaking to reporters, De Lima bared she had ordered Prosecutor General Claro Arellano to direct the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) to commence the probe against SDSP Severino Gana, whose staff, Mutya Santiago, was nabbed by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last Friday inside Gana's office for allegedly extorting P250,000 from a certain Nuriza Abeja, Jr., a litigant in an adultery case. 

Santiago allegedly warned Abeja that the dismissed charge will be reinstated should she refuse to pay the amount. The original amount Santiago asked for was reportedly P300,000 but it was later reduced.

"Imagine, yung pag-entrap, pagbigay ng pera, right here sa DOJ building? Ganoon ka-bold. Galit na galit ako upon learning that. If I need to do the entrapment myself for others, I will do that. Naghihintay lang ako ng mga ganyang complainant na nagsusumbong at credible ang story," De Lima said.

Robbery extortion charges were filed against Santiago with the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC). She is currently out on bail.

Another DOJ employee, a certain "Louie," was also implicated in the alleged extortion. De Lima said he, too, will be investigated and so will other names who may crop up in the course of the probe.

"Si 'Louie' and makulit na nagfa-followup through text doon sa complainant... I'm waiting for the draft order pertaining to that certain 'Louie' and the charges that may be filed against the SDSP, yung pinaka-boss ng employee (Santiago). Ipapa-suspend ko din, if warranted," she said.