Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has urged the Senate to look into reports of corruption at the prosecution service as she expressed serious concerns over what she said was the ingrained practice of corruption among state prosecutors.
Santiago, in a resolution that she filed recently, cited the admission of Prosecutor General Claro Arellano that corruption does exist among the ranks of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“Arellano’s admission shows that corruption is rampant in all levels of the government, especially among high-level civil servants,” she said in her resolution.
Arellano made the statement in connection with the arrest of Quezon City Assistant Prosecutor Raul Desembrana, who was caught accepting a bribe in an entrapment at Quezon Memorial Circle on November 15, 2014.
Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) caught Desembra in the act of accepting P80,000 from Alex Montes, a doctor and who was among the so-called Morong 43, a group of health workers who were detained by the military in 2010 for alleged links with the communist New People’s Army (NPA)
Santiago noted that it is imperative for Congress to ensure strong adherence to existing legislation against graft and corruption, regardless of the position of those who are involved.
She said government employees who engage in graft and corruption should be punished accordingly.
According to the senator, a Senate probe of the alleged corruption in the DOJ would determine the seriousness of the problem so that Congress can come up with a measure to curb the practice.
In August, Undersecretary Francisco Baraan 3rd was accused by Lakmodin Saliao of receiving huge bribes in connection with the Maguindanao massacre case.
Saliao claimed that government prosecutors handling the case got P50 million to compromise the trial. Baraan allegedly received P20 million.
Baraan and other members of the prosecution panel denied the allegation, saying Saliao’s statement was a complete fabrication and full of “holes.”