MANILA - The Supreme Court on Tuesday appointed a magistrate to coordinate with the country's anti-drug agency, effectively taking steps to address the reported involvement of several judges in the illegal drug trade.
“[T]he Supreme Court en banc has tasked and has authorized Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta to coordinate and communicate directly with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for the list of judges allegedly linked to the illegal drug trade,” SC Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka announced during a press conference in Baguio City on Tuesday afternoon.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino earlier claimed 13 judges and 10 prosecutors, all yet to be identified, were supposedly included in its narco-list.
The move to assign Peralta to coordinate with the PDEA was to “pave the way for a formal fact-finding and administrative investigation by the Supreme Court,” Hosaka said.
“The Supreme Court, like in the past, will and shall not tolerate any illegal or corrupt activities within its ranks,” he added.
In August 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte himself publicly accused 7 judges of alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
The announcement prompted then-Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to write to the President to protest the “premature public announcement.”
She also cautioned judges against surrendering if no warrant is shown.
Of the 7 judges named, 1 had been killed, 1 had been dismissed while another one had retired.
After months of investigation, SC cleared 3 of the remaining 4 judges while the last one faced an administrative charge.