• Palace welcomes SC decision vs Baguio ‘narco-judge’

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    Malacañang on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision against a Baguio City regional trial court judge whom President Rodrigo Duterte accused of being a protector of illegal drug syndicates last year.

    “The President’s campaign against illegal drugs is not the President’s war alone. It needs the cooperation of all those in the government, the private sector and civil society,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

    “We are glad that the Supreme Court has initiated an administrative case against a Baguio regional trial court judge whose name is included in the President’s list of government officials involved in illegal drugs. This is a good beginning,” he added.

    The High Court, in a four-page resolution dated February 21 but released only on Thursday, had ordered the filing of an administrative case against Judge Antonio Reyes of the Baguio RTC Branch after it adopted the recommendation of the fact-finding report made by retired Justice Roberto Abad.

    “The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) is directed to proceed with the inventory of cases decided by Reyes to determine whether there is basis to allegations that convictions were reversed in exchange for money,” the resolution read.

    The High Court also ordered the OCA to investigate the driver of Reyes for alleged bribery. It also requested the National Bureau of Investigation to locate the witnesses identified in Abad’s report.

    Abad, in his report, said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency wanted to conduct an entrapment against the judge but this did not push through after it was discovered that the alleged payoffs were made through his driver.

    CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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