Senate pins justice department for ‘inaction’ on Legacy

THE Justice Department has got the ire of the Senate yesterday threatening to cut their budget for the agency’s handling of the cases against embattled Legacy Group owner Celso de los Angeles Jr. and other personalities.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said DOJ has been remised in its job to fast track the filing of cases against Legacy officials accused of syndicated estafa and other cases.

“Better shape up in the prosecution of cases otherwise we’ll start cutting your budget,” Enrile told DOJ assistant secretary Jose Arturo de Castro after the latter reported during the Senate trade and commerce hearing that none of the complaints against the Legacy owner has been filed in court.

The DOJ is investigating the wave of charges against De los Angeles, his relatives and other officials of the troubled Legacy Group for allegedly siphoning off millions of pesos from the company’s planholders and depositors.

The charges were filed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., private investors and other private individuals.

At Monday’s senate hearing, De Castro said six of the cases filed before the Cagayan de Oro City’s prosecutor’s office are expected to be resolved on the first week of May.

For his part, senior state prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco denied sitting on the cases and said that DOJ prosecutors have been spread across the country to get the comments from both parties in the cases.

Velasco chairs the DOJ panel investigating the string of charges lodged against Legacy officials and other personalities, which range from falsification of documents to syndicated estafa.

“Hindi kami mabagal. Nagsasagutan pa kasi sila (the parties involved) the complainants and respondents [The complainants and respondents are still airing their own sides]. Everyone has to be given the chance to say their piece,” Velasco said.

Velasco earlier assured that the DOJ panel vowed to expedite its inquiry on the matter. source: gmanews.tv

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