De Lima creates special task force to investigate Enrile

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Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has created a special task force composed of probers from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Justice to investigate the alleged criminal activities of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile which Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago bared in her speech on December 4.

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In Department Order 994 dated December 18, 2013, de Lima named Undersecretary Jose Justiniano as chairman of the special panel and Assistant State Prosecutors Niven Canlapan and Nolibien Quiambao, State Counsel IV Adonis Sulit, State Counsel I Charles Romulus Cambaliza, and Jonathan Mengullo and Catherine Camposano of the NBI Anti-Graft Division as members.

The task force will look into Santiago’s claim that Enrile was involved in the illegal importation or smuggling of automobiles through the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) in conspiracy with Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Jose Mari Ponce and James Kocher; illegal gambling and illegal logging.

Santiago also said that Enrile submitted falsified Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

The panel was also mandated to evaluate the evidence gathered and recommend possible courses of action or legal processes, including, but not limited to, the filing of the appropriate criminal complaints as the evidence may warrant for purposes of the conduct of the corresponding preliminary investigation, request for investigation by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, and the filing of civil cases for forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth in coordination with the Office of the Solicitor General.

It was also authorized to tap other agents, investigators and units of the NBI to assist in its investigation.

It will make regular reports directly to the Secretary of Justice, and submit its final report within three months.

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