MANILA - Prosecutors of the Department of Justice are questioning the promotion of a junior prosecutor who, they claimed has not won any conviction for the DOJ.
Prosecution attorney (PA) Mark Rolando Estepa took his oath as senior assistant state prosecutor (SASP) on Sept. 27, a day before the ban on appointments for the barangay election took effect.
Estepa, who has been with the DOJ for five years and was an associate prosecution attorney last year, bypassed over 80 senior prosecutors in the DOJ.
Based on his appointment papers, Estepa now has the rank of Prosecutor III equivalent to SASP.
Ordinarily, a PA is promoted to assistant state prosecutor (ASP) before he or she can apply for the SASP post.
Estepa’s most prominent case so far is the election sabotage case against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal–Arroyo, where he is part of the DOJ prosecution team.
An insider told The STAR that even Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was surprised by his appointment.
“SOJ (secretary of justice) did not know he applied for the post. She just received the appointment paper from Malacañang,” the source said.
It was learned that several ASPs and PAs filed applications for the post.
Estepa will supervise ASPs who have been in the department for 15 to 30 years.
“What qualities does he have to be promoted ahead of us when he does not have any conviction yet? There are even many PAs more senior than him,” said another prosecutor, who asked not to be named.
“Under the law and civil service procedures, he could be promoted only as ASP,” the prosecutor added.
Sources said senior DOJ prosecutors now have “low morale” because of Estepa’s promotion.