'Narco-judge' tagged by Duterte resigns

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2016 04:05 PM | Updated as of Aug 16 2016 06:08 PM

Judge Dagala under investigation by SC for other offenses 

SC spokesperson Theodore Te. ABS-CBN News

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - An alleged "narco-judge" named by President Rodrigo Duterte last week has resigned, but the Supreme Court (SC) refused to accept it as he is still being investigated for other offenses. 

In a briefing with the media on Tuesday afternoon, SC spokesperson Theodore Te said Judge Exequil Dagala had submitted his resignation but was refused, because prior to being named by Duterte as one of seven judges allegedly with ties to the illegal drug trade, he had already been subject of a separate investigation by the high court.

Despite the judge’s resignation being “irrevocable,” Te said it is the court’s prerogative to accept or reject it. 

“In government, nobody can leave their post until they are allowed to leave their post. A resignation has to be accepted…as far as the court is concerned, it did not accept his resignation,” he said. 

If the investigation will require Dagala to step away from his duties at any time, the high court will name someone to take over these.

Dagala, who presides over the Metropolitan Trial Court of Dapa-Socorro in Surigao, will still be subjected to the fact-finding investigation of retired Associate Justice Roberto Abad in relation to Duterte's allegations.

While Te declined to detail the investigation on Dagala, information obtained by ABS-CBN News showed that earlier complaints against him, aside from illegal drugs, were related to his alleged involvement in illegal logging and immorality.

The high court also said that due to Duterte's clarification that his speech naming alleged "narco-judges" was merely "information" and not an accusation, it has asked Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) head Director General Isidro Lapeña, instead of the Executive Secretary, to submit complaints or other information against four out of seven judges named by the president. 

READ: SC asks Palace to submit complaints vs 'narco-judges'

This amended an earlier announcement directing Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to submit complaint-affidavits against the judges, which was among the reasons that earned the ire of the country’s chief executive in a televised speech last August 9.

Abad, who will remain the sole investigator of the four judges, will conduct his probe after receiving the judges' replies to the complaints to be submitted by the PNP and PDEA. 

Abad will have 30 days to wrap up the fact-finding investigation, which will be treated as confidential until his recommendations are acted upon by the high court en banc.

ANOTHER JUDGE UNDER PROBE

The SC, meanwhile, said it is investigating another judge not included in Duterte's list of judges who are allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. 

Te said the judge, which the court refused to name citing confidentiality of administrative matters, has already been suspended.

The judge's name and list offenses, Te said, will only be revealed when issues related to his investigation have been resolved. – With a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News