DOJ eases process of going after prosecution misfits

15 May 2015

The Department of Justice streamlines the process of going after misfits in the National Prosecution Service (NPS) through the issuance of a revised procedure on handling administrative complaints against prosecution officials and employees.

Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima issued Department Circular No. 010 dated 25 March 2015 adopting revisions to the Rules of Procedure of the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) of the NPS that rationalize the procedure in the handling of administrative complaints.

"These revised Rules of Procedure will definitely improve and expedite the handling of administrative complaints against prosecutors and prosecution staff as well, adhering to the basic DOJ principle of having a fair administration of justice disregarding social biases," the Secretary said.

Prominent revisions adopted through the Department Circular are provisions that disburden complainants of the technicality of the procedure and the offenses which may be the subject of the complaint.

The provision also gives "the head of an office" the prerogative to motu proprio initiate administrative action against subordinates.

While the Rules assure to treat a complaint with utmost confidentiality, it requires any official or employee of the NPS who receives it, to transmit it to the IAU of the Office of the Secretary within 24 hours from its receipt for proper action.

The IAU is bound to take actions appropriate under the circumstances - including evaluating the complaint - to determine if the complaint is sufficient in form and substance.

Should it find the complaint without merit and patently for harassment, the IAU may recommend to the Justice Secretary the outright dismissal of the complaint.

When the complaint is given due course and submitted for an investigation hearing, the Justice Secretary may place the respondent under preventive suspension not exceeding 90 days, without pay, pending the termination of proceedings.

The Justice Secretary may order the preventive suspension either motu proprio or upon the recommendation of the IAU, or the hearing officer.

Withdrawal of the complaint will not result in the automatic dismissal or prevent the IAU from continuing to act on in.

On 11 August 2011, Secretary De Lima created the IAU in her bid to cleanse the prosecution service of corruption, saying "the pursuit of the DOJ's mandate to deliver justice for all must begin with ridding the service of misfits."

To view or download Department Circular No. 010, please click this link /files/DC%20010(1).pdf

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