MANILA - Former health chief and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin asked the justice department to merge the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) forensics lab with the crime lab of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
During the budget hearing for the 2020 budget of Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday, Garin pointed out PAO does not have forensics under its mandates as she assailed the qualifications of PAO forensics head, Dr. Erwin Erfe.
She also cited a string of cases in which the PAO's forensics lab's results were questionable, insisting that only DOJ can fix the situation.
”I believe it is the secretary of justice who can put order in the DOJ by allowing the NBI to pursue its mandate and by policing the PAO as far as its mandate is concerned,” she said.
Garin then said, “Baka naman po pwede para 'di sayang ang perang binabayad ni Juan at Maria. Bakit 'di na lang natin pagsamahin ang NBI crime laboratory at PAO forensic laboratory but of course headed by qualified experts duly recognized by courts and the medical societies?”
DOJ budget sponsor Ruwel Peter Gonzaga said this will be studied.
Garin, however, was not content with that as she asked for an accounting of how the purchase of equipment, the operations and even the travels of Erfe were funded.
Gonzaga likewise committed that the DOJ will study this.
It can be recalled that NBI filed criminal complaints against the previous Aquino administration, including Garin, in connection with the Dengvaxia controversy in 2018.
Both PAO and NBI are both attached agencies under the DOJ.