• Justice chief ‘lawyering’ for Sulu official

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    Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd should be investigated for abuse of authority over “lawyering” for Sulu Vice Gov. Abdusakur Tan, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

    Rep. Munir Arbison of Sulu made the call under his House Resolution 1014, which seeks a congressional probe of the Department of Justice’s handling of cases involving Aguirre’s former clients and Aguirre’s vulnerability in allowing personal interest of his clients over public interest.

    Arbison accused Aguirre and his Chief of Staff Paolo Mabazza of coercing government prosecutors to resurrecting the multiple frustrated murder and illegal possession of explosives case against him that was dismissed by the Zamboanga City prosecutor in October 2010.

    He said he is in possession of a 43-minute audio recording of Aguirre coercing his subordinates to prosecute him by crafting a ruling finding probable cause to charge him in connection with the August 2010 Zamboanga City bombing.

    “The audio recording was sent to my office here in Congress. It did not have a return address. I don’t know who sent it, but the voice in the recording certainly belongs to Secretary Aguirre. I submitted the audio recording to the House Committee on Justice,” Arbison told reporters.

    “Justice Secretary Aguirre and his Chief of Staff Mabazza are exerting pressure on the prosecutor to file a case against me despite the lack of probable cause. It was even Atty. Mabazza who prepared Tan’s affidavit, which stated that the issuance of warrant of arrest against me is inevitable,” he said.

    Arbison added that Aguirre’s actions violate the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which defines corrupt practices as persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced or influenced to commit such violation or offense.

    He also accused Aguirre of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers that states, “A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public position to promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with his public duties.”

    “Our 43-minute recording is a damning evidence against Secretary Aguirre,” Arbison’s lawyer, Mary Arnado, said.

    “We have no choice but to put this out because this is clearly conflict of interest on the part of Secretary Aguirre and a warrant of arrest could be issued against an innocent man,” Arnado added.

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