MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday said state prosecutors are not following his orders.
"Dati, nung panahon ng piskalya, no'ng panahon ni Pangulong Duterte nang siya'y piskal pa, ganun po dirediretso ang power of control and supervision ng Department Secretary from top to bottom. Ngayon po hindi na," Aguire told radio DZMM.
"Nag-complain ako dyan nung mga unang hearing namin sa cabinet, sabi ko. ‘Alam po ninyo Mr. President, at 'yung mga Cabinet secretary, sana po ay matulungan niyo ako na maamyendahan itong National Prosecution Service sapagkat dito ay hindi na ako sinusununod ng aking mga piskal. I could not even transfer them. Mga provincial fiscal di ko mai-transfer yang mga iyan without their consent."
The justice secretary has come under fire after the National Prosecution Service (NPS) dismissed the drug trading charges against alleged drug lords Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, and 20 others.
Aguirre said his office cannot intervene with the resolution of the NPS as his office has only appellate jurisdiction.
"Pupunta lamang po sa aking opisina or hindi po kami maaaring mag-intervene sapagkat jurisdiction lamang po ngayon ng Office of the Secretary ay appellate lamang, kapag mayroong may gusting mag-apela or hindi satisfied sa resolution ng National Prosecution Service," he said.
"Ito pong creation ng National Prosecution Service, bago pong batas ito. Hindi po kami maaaring mag-intervene sapagkat ang National Prosecution Service ay mayroong some sort of autonomy or independence from the Office of the Secretary."
Aguirre said the resolution on the alleged drug lords was sent to his office as early as February 12 but hasn't reached his desk.
"Although ipinasa sa aming tanggapan noong Feb. 12, hindi pa po iyan dumarating sa mesa ko sapagkat iyan po ay iraraffle sa different undersecrataries," he said.
"At di po gagalawin yan sapagkat alam namin na meron pang motion for reconsideration. Pag nadeny po ang motion for reconsideration, saka lang namin aaktuhan yang automatic review sapagkat wala pong magiging saysay ang aming appellate jurisdiction kung kami ay aaksyon kaagad at babaliktarin naman sa motion for reconsideration," he said.
The justice secretary also admitted that he has not yet read in full the DOJ panel's resolution.
"Hindi ko pa po nababasa kasi I have no obligation to read sa ngayon eh. At alam naman po ninyo the past days meron kaming 3 araw na national convention kaya ang dami ng trabaho rito sa DOJ," he said.
The DOJ on Wednesday said it has begun an investigation on public prosecutors who cleared charges against the alleged big-time drug lords.
Aguirre has also ordered the creation of a new panel to review the agency's resolution to drop drug charges against Peter Lim.