Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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Aguirre hands off on Ozamiz bishop arrested for alleged possession of bombs

Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II on Friday said he would let the prosecutors decide on the case filed against Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) Bishop Carlo Morales who was arrested for illegal possession of explosives in Ozamiz City.

“Since I assumed stewardship of the DOJ, it has been our adopted policy and practice to give our prosecutors in the field a free hand in the discharge of their functions, particularly in the conduct of preliminary investigations and in the disposal of pending case,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre said he has directed the Prosecution Services (NPS) to give him an update on the status of the case.

Aguirre received a letter Friday from the religious organization Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) con-chairperson Fr. Rolly de Leon about the separate arrests of Bishop Morales and Pastor Kama Sanong of the Manobo Association Evangelical Church. The PCPR claimed the bombs found in Morales’ possession were planted.

In the two-page letter, de Leon said: “We are deeply troubled by both these incidents; such conduct by state forces is beyond defense or justification. The disturbance to the lives of those victimized by trumped-up charges and their families is deplorable.”

“Persecution of church leaders like Bishop Morales and Pastor Sanong does impact their ministry, but it has also laid bare an evil afoot among those who will fabricate charges and plant evidence against persons innocent of alleged crimes,” de Leon said.

Last May 11, Morales was nabbed for alleged illegal possession of explosives.

But Aguirre maintained that he could not dictate the NPS in reviewing the case.

“We are not in the habit of intervening cases filed before our national prosecution service. Dun sila magbigay ng evidence sa ating prosecution service, pero hindi natin maaaring lakdangan, o kaya pumunta sila sa amin para diktahan ang national prosecution service, where it is pending,” Aguirre told reporters. (PNA)

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