Oct 212017

Ralph Trangia emerges from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, under heavy police escort, as he arrives in Manila from Chicago, Tuesday. Trangia was tagged as one of the suspects in the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) law freshman Horacio Castillo III, during initiation rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity last September 17. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Oct 10 (Mabuhay) — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Tuesday his office is ready to offer witness protection to Ralph Trangia, one of the suspects in the hazing death of University of Santo Tomas law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III last month.

Trangia’s return from the United States is a “welcome development” in the department’s investigation on Castillo’s death, Aguirre said.

“Hopefully, Mr. Trangia’s return is covered in good intentions to clear his name and to tell the truth,” he said in a statement.

“While he may be a suspect as of the moment, depending on what he will tell our investigators, he could be a potential witness. And for this reason, the DOJ (Department of Justice) offers to him and to his family, the protection of our Witness Protection Program (WPP),” he added.

Trangia, a member of the Aegis Jvris Fraternity, returned to Manila Tuesday, three weeks since he left for the United States.

He went overseas on Sept. 19, two days after Castillo was declared dead at a hospital after suffering massive injuries during fraternity initiation rites.

Authorities earlier sought the cancellation of his passport to compel his return.

Aguirre urged Trangia and his family to “fully cooperate, to tell the truth and, as a future lawyer, to work for justice.” He also called on anyone who may know what happened to Castillo to come forward.

“Those who do will find the truth liberating, you cannot live in lies and untruth forever. We are waiting for you,” he said.

Trangia, along with several other Aegis Jvris members, are facing charges of murder, robbery, and the violation of the anti-hazing law for Castillo’s death.

The 22-year-old was rushed to the Chinese General Hospital on Sept. 17 after suffering a heart attack due to the beating he went through during Aegis Jvris initiation rites.

The Mitsubishi Strada used to bring Castillo to the hospital was traced to Trangia’s father Antonio Trangia, police earlier said.

Castillo’s family learned of his death before dawn the next day through an anonymous text message. (MNS)

Apr 052014
DOJ supports AMLC bid to freeze assets of senators in 'pork' scam

The Department of Justice fully supports the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s (AMLC’s) bid to have a freeze order issued on the bank accounts and properties of the three senators implicated in the alleged pork barrel scam. According to a Friday report on GMA 7’s Saksi, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the council had started working on freezing the assets of the implicated lawmakers — Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada. “It is public funds, kaban ng bayan iyan, coffers ‘yan, national treasury ‘yan. So in the end, dapat i-recover ‘yan. That is part of the integral process of exacting justice in anti-corruption cases such as this — lalo na’t plunder,” De Lima added. Meanwhile, a source told GMA News that the AMLC has requested documents from the DOJ and the National Bureau of Investigation to support the asset preservation order to be filed against the three senators. Last year, the DOJ filed plunder charges against Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla, as well as other former lawmakers for allegedly receiving kickbacks from so-called pork barrel scam operator Janet Lim Napoles, in an elaborate scheme to funnel their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into ghost projects and NGOs. On Tuesday, the Office of the Ombudsman announced the indictment of Enrile, Estrada and Revilla for plunder, along with Napoles, over the P10-billion pork barrel scam. The Ombudsman has yet to resolve two other batches of government fund-related complaints filed last year by the DOJ and the NBI. One batch is connected Read More …

Mar 282014
Pork barrel cases to be resolved ‘sooner than you think’ – Ombudsman

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Friday hinted that her office was on the verge of taking action on the pork barrel fund scam cases filed with them by the Department of Justice six months earlier. In its filing, the DOJ accused 38 former and incumbent government officials and lawmakers of plunder, malversation and corruption of public officials. “Rest assured, you will get your resolution [in the pork barrel case] sooner than you think,” Morales said in a report aired Friday on GMA 7’s “24 Oras”. Morales, who was in Davao for the inauguration of the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, had wanted the pork scam cases resolved earlier. However, legal processes had to be followed. “If we resolve the case in the immediate future, I’m not going to tell you how immediate is immediate, then we will let the five-day period to file a motion reconsideration (MR) pass. In the event that we find probable cause, when the MR is filed, we will resolve it ASAP,” Morales said. Among the respondents in the pork scam cases are Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. as well as alleged pork barrel scam operator Janet Lim-Napoles. Just last week, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago called on the Office of the Ombudsman to at least file charges against the more prominent and high-ranking officials implicated in pork barrel cases. Santiago worried that the public would lose interest on the matter if the investigation dragged on for too long. Morales, however, pointed out that it Read More …

Mar 022014
Filing charges over ‘pork’ scam up to DOJ, not Malacañang – Coloma

Malacañang said Sunday that filing charges over the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund is up to the Department of Justice. “Wala po sa hurisdiksyon ng Malacanang ang pag-aaral ng mga kaso o mga usapin hinggil diyan,” Presidential Communications Operations Office secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over government radio on Sunday.  “Simula sapul, malinaw po ang batayang prinsipyo ng ating Pangulo at pamahalaan. Kinakailangang hayaan yung ebidensya na magturo kung saan patungo yung imbestigasyon,” he added. The statement came after Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general, said said Saturday that the investigation into the so-called pork barrel scam seemed to be aimed only at members of the opposition. The opposition stalwart on Saturday said the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation have yet to file charges against administration allies named in a Commission on Audit report on alleged misuse of their PDAF. Tiangco said members of the Liberal Party who were identified in a COA report released last August as having received excess “pork barrel” allocations from 2007 to 2008 have yet to face charges.  “Imagine, inabot na ng 200 days pero wala pa ring nakakasuhan sa mga kaalyado ng Liberal Party? What’s really obvious and dubious is that the cases are all focused on the opposition. Ayaw na nilang idagdag ang mga kaibigan nilang sumawsaw sa PDAF. Malinaw na may cover up dito,” he said in a statement. But Coloma said Sunday that the findings of the Audit commission still Read More …

Feb 042014
DOJ takes over all cases related to Vhong mauling incident

President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the Cabinet Meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (December 10, 2013). In photo are Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. (Photo by: Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau) MANILA, Feb 3 (Mabuhay) – The Department of Justice has consolidated all cases related to the mauling of actor Vhong Navarro in a condominium in Taguig City last month. In a one-page order issued on Monday, Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, head of the National Prosecution Service which is under the DOJ, said they were consolidating two cases because they “arose from the same incident, founded on the same factual and legal issues involving same parties.” The consolidated cases included the rape case filed with the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office by model-stylist Deniece Cornejo against Navarro, who was mauled by friends of Cornejo led by Cedric Lee inside the Forbeswood Condominium at the Bonifacio Global City. The rape case was consolidated with a separate case filed with the DOJ by Navarro against his own accuser, Cornejo, Lee and several other involved in the mauling. Navarro filed cases of illegal detention, serious physical injuries, grave threats, grave coercion, illegal arrest, and blackmail. The Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office was also asked to turn over all records of the case filed by Cornejo to the DOJ “immediately upon receipt hereof.” Read More …

Jan 102014
Newly-freed Leviste shows up at DOJ drug cartel probe

Former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste getting out of the Muntinlupa Bilibid Prison Friday (Dec. 6) as he was one of the 40 prisoners who were given parole this year. (MNS photo) MANILA  (Mabuhay) – A month after he was released from prison, convicted killer and former Batangas governor Jose Antonio Leviste on Thursday appeared before the Department of Justice to testify on the reported operation of a powerful Mexican drug cartel in the Philippines. Clad in a blue polo and accompanied by his lawyer, Leviste, who was granted parole last November after almost five years behind bars, arrived around 2 p.m. at the DOJ office in Manila. The proceedings, led by Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, were ongoing as of presstime. DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima had earlier said Leviste will be asked to produce the lease contract of the LPL Ranch located in Barangay Inosluban in Lipa City, Batangas, where P420 million in illegal drugs was seized by authorities last month. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA) said the illegal drugs recovered from the ranch can be traced to the Mexican Sinoloa drug ring, which has been tagged by international media as Mexico’s most powerful drug syndicate. (MNS)

Nov 292013
DOJ to subpoena anew daughter of Janet Lim Napoles

Really?: An alleged photo of Jeane Napoles, daughter of Janet Lim-Napoles who is at the center of the pork barrel scam that involves lawmakers in the Philippines, as she is supposedly “bathing” in a tubful of money that has been circulating on the internet. This one was posted in en.wordpress.com. MANILA  (Mabuhay) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) will again send subpoena to Jeane Napoles to appear in the conduct of the hearing this Dec. 10 on the P32.06-million tax evasion case filed against her. Jeane is the daughter of Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged “brains” behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam and the P900-million Malampaya Fund scam. This was because Jeane did not appear during the first hearing of the case on Tuesday. Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edna Valenzuela earlier ordered Atty. Francisco Tolentino, counsel of Janet and Jimmy Napoles, to inform the daughter of his client to submit a counter-affidavit. Tolentino is the second lawyer who appeared during the hearing last Nov. 5 as counsel of the Napoles couple in their P60-million tax evasion case. During the hearing Tuesday, a certain Atty. Ian Dela Cruz Encarnacion appeared before the DOJ to submit the counter-affidavit of the Napoles couple. However, the panel of prosecutors rejected the counter-affidavit because it was only notarized instead of subscribed before a public prosecutor which is contrary to the existing rules. (MNS)

Oct 302013
DOJ prosecutor accused of extorting P2.5M from PALEA members suspended

The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended the senior prosecutor of the Department of Justice accused of extorting P2.5 million from members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) National Prosecution Service chief Prosecutor General Claro Arellano confirmed that Assistant State Prosecutor III Diosdado Bernales Solidum Jr. has been suspended pending the resolution of his case pending with the Ombudsman. “Pros. Solidum is placed under preventive suspension without pay for a period which shall continue until the case is terminated but shall not however exceed six months,” Arellano told GMA News Online on Wednesday. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, in August, ordered the filing of criminal charges against Solidum for direct bribery and for violation of Section 7(d) in relation to Section 11 of Republic Act  6713 (Code  of  Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. According to the Ombudsman, Solidum demanded P10,000 each from the more than 200 PALEA members or equal to almost P2.5 million in exchange for the dropping of the pending charges against them. A complaint for violation of Section 81(b)(5) of Republic Act 9497 the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008 has earlier been filed with the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office against 241 PALEA members. Morales said the money being demanded later went down to P1.2 million payable in installment. PALEA president and complainant Gerardo Rivera said Solidum had request a meeting last July 29 in Quezon City, in which the prosecutor said having the union members’ case reversed would entail costs. “Rivera replied that Read More …

Oct 252013
Palace: De Lima move to cancel passports has basis

The move of the Department of Justice to have the passports of lawmakers and other personalities linked to the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam canceled is “not without basis,” Malacañang said Saturday. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the DOJ’s move stemmed from the fact that some of those linked to the scam had already fled abroad before charges were filed against them. “The move is also not without basis in the sense that we’ve seen that some of those who have been slapped with charges regarding the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam had left the country,” she said on government-run dzRB radio. She added the public should understand the move of the DOJ since there are fears they would no longer be in the country to stand trial. On the other hand, she said this [cancellation of passports] is not yet final as the Department of Foreign Affairs is still studying it. For now, she said it is up to the DFA to decide on the matter. “The greater public understands the initiative of the DOJ. Whether that will be cleared by the DFA is another thing,” she said. Valte also said a hold-departure order is not the solution because only the court can issue it. She also said the DOJ’s watch-list power is now the subject of a temporary restraining order by the Supreme Court. “At the end of the day what matters is sinusundan natin may basis (At the end of the day, what matters is that we Read More …

Oct 022013
DOJ readying charges vs Misuari for rebellion, violation of int’l humanitarian law

Police present to the media 15 Muslim rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), who had surrendered to the government soldiers, at a police station in Zamboanga city in southern Philippines September 19, 2013. Police said the death toll in the fighting between the soldiers and the rebels has reached 104, and around 110,000 have been displaced. (MNS photo) MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Department of Justice is preparing to charge Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari with rebellion and violating international humanitarian law over the bloody standoff between his followers and government troops in Zamboanga City. Although Misuari has not personally been involved in the fighting in Zamboanga, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said he remains accountable because of “command responsibility.” The MNLF fighters involved in the standoff are led by one of Misuari’s most trusted lieutenants, Habier Malik, who security forces say remains holed out in Zamboanga. De Lima said part of the basis for including Misuari in the charges the government will be filing over the standoff are the testimonies of captured or surrendered MNLF fighters, many of whom have been subjected to inquest proceedings. The standoff entered its 19th day on Friday and has, so far, claimed the lives of around 160 combatants and civilians, left more than 350 wounded, and displaced up to 120,000 persons. (MNS)