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Drug cases in Iloilo face Gonzalez probe

First Posted 12:04:00 01/29/2009

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ILOILO CITY ? Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez has ordered an investigation on allegations that Iloilo provincial prosecutors have unjustly dismissed complaints against suspected drug pushers.

Regional State Prosecutor Domingo Laurea Jr. said yesterday that Gonzalez instructed him to check on the complaints of Iloilo policemen and allegations on the dismissal of complaints against drug suspects from Balasan town in Iloilo.

Laurea said that he formed an investigating committee that he would chair, with Iloilo City Prosecutor Peter Baliao and Capiz Provincial Prosecutor Rudolfo Beloso as members.

?We will start our investigation next week,? Laurea told the Inquirer, in a telephone interview.

Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. earlier ordered the removal of the province's subsidies to provincial prosecutors, including travel allowances, per diem and operation expenses amounting to around P1.7 million annually.

In a letter to Provincial Prosecutor Bernabe Dusaban dated Jan. 9, 2009, provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada said the governor ordered an indefinite stop to the release of the subsidy ?because of this seeming predisposition of the Provincial Prosecutors Office to dismiss illegal drug cases.?

Mejorada said that Tupas received complaints from police chiefs of the province during a meeting on Jan 6 on the dismissal of complaints against the suspected drug pushers who were arrested by policemen.

Tupas also revealed that police found the names and telephone numbers of ?Losaban? and ?Obsequie,? purportedly belonging to provincial prosecutors, in the wallet of suspected drug dealer Henry Caspillo when he was arrested.

Dusaban, in an earlier interview, denied that his office unjustly dismissed cases against suspected drug pushers. He said the accusations against them were ?baseless.?

He said his office filed cases on most of the complaints submitted to their office.

Their records showed that from January 2003 to Decr 31, 2008, the provincial prosecutor's office received 209 drug cases for inquest proceedings or preliminary investigation. The office filed 193 cases before courts and dismissed the rest.

Gonzalez, in an earlier interview, scored the removal of subsidy of the Iloilo province for provincial prosecutors claiming it was ?politically motivated.?

He said the camp of Tupas perceived Dusaban as against the governor because the prosecutor is allegedly a relative of 4th district Rep. Ferjenel Biron. /Inquirer

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