Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Sunday lambasted a Caloocan city prosecutor for his manifest partiality and personal prejudices against 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos who was killed in a police operation and urged Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to relieve him of his position.
Drilon, a former justice secretary, said he was dismayed and furious upon hearing the remarks made by Darwin Canete of Caloocan City Prosecutor's Office about the death of delos Santos in the hands of Caloocan policemen.
Canete, who has been very vocal in airing his support for President Duterte and his anti-illegal drugs campaign, was reported as questioning delos Santos' death and publicly lawyering for the Caloocan police.
"The case is seriously prejudiced by Canete. His frame of mind and line of reasoning are very disturbing. We must never tolerate such behavior of a fiscal that imperils the administration of justice in the country," Drilon said.
With his prejudiced statements against delos Santos, Drilon said CaAete "cannot be trusted" to fulfill his duties to investigate and prosecute the policemen responsible for the 17-year old's death.
Drilon said Aguirre "should immediately remove Mr. Canete from the case for manifest partiality and hostility towards the victim."
"The risk of prejudice is too great in the case of Canete and this behooves the secretary of justice to intervene, if he is intent on fulfilling his job of administering justice in the country," Drilon stressed.
The former justice secretary said that under Sec. 7 (e) of RA10071 Prosecution Services Act of 2010, the secretary of justice can designate a prosecutor from any office of the provincial or city prosecutor within the region as acting provincial or city prosecutor to investigate and prosecute a case "in instances where parties question the partiality or bias of a particular city or provincial prosecutor."
"Secretary Aguirre publicly said that he has ordered the NBI to probe into the death of Delos Santos and file the appropriate charges against those responsible. This would be nothing but lip service if he, in his capacity as Justice Secretary, does not properly respond to CaAete's public pronouncements," Drilon said.
Drilon said that Canete may have also violated the Code of Conduct of Prosecutors, which mandates prosecutors to conduct themselves in the highest ethical standards of fairness, dignity, impartiality, and integrity with a view to preserving and enhancing public confidence in the prosecution service. Drilon said he would suggest to Aguirre that Canete be re-assigned to other post like in DOJ proper "where he can reacquaint himself with the basics of due process and respect for the rule of law."
"The administration of justice in the country is better served without the likes of Canete who are the reason why the public does not trust our justice system," he concluded.
Source: Senate of the Philippines