The Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated a sixty-day preventive suspension of three prosecutors in Pasay City for releasing a total of three defendants arrested for purportedly smuggling at least P3 million peso worth of jewelry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The Internal Affairs Unit of the National Prosecution Service is currently investigating Pasay City Prosecutor Benjamin Lanto, Inquest Prosecutor Clementine Villanueva, and Assistant Prosecutor Florencio dela Cruz for purported flagrant dereliction of duty, gross incompetence, and inefficiency.
DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra has appointed Deputy City Prosecutor Dolores Pulgo Rillera as officer in charge of the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office.
In a two-page formal charge inked by Guevarra, the DOJ ordered the 3 prosecutors to submit their response and their witnesses’ affidavits in 10 days.
“Otherwise, failure to submit the same shall be deemed as a waiver of your right to be heard, and this department, through the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) of the National Prosecution Service, shall make a recommendation on this case on the basis of evidence on record,” Guevarra said.
According to justice secretary, the accusations against the prosecutors were plausible to be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.
On May 5, NAIA customs operations officer Lomonto Macabando and spouses Abraham and Bang-sa Mimbalawag were seized for apparently attempting to illegally import P3 million worth of various jewelry at the air terminal.
The two suspects are now facing charges for violating the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the Revised Penal Code. – The Centrio News, Ronald Delos Santos