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Aguirre won’t inhibit from Kian case

By: Jeffrey G. Damicog

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has turned down the request of youth groups to inhibit himself from the case of slain Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos.

“We have several good reasons not to grant the request. Foremost, it is improperly laid,” Aguirre said in a statement yesterday.

The secretary explained the murder and torture complaints against the policemen involved in the killing was lodged by Kian’s parents, Saldy and Lorenza, last Friday before the National Prosecution Service (NPS) for preliminary investigation.

Aguirre issued the statement in response to the letter sent to him on Tuesday by youth groups including the Mellenials Against Dictators, University of the Philippines Bukluran System, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines and youths from the Pamantasan Lungsod ng Maynila.

“However, the Secretary of Justice may take cognizance and has the authority to act directly on any matter involving national security or a probable miscarriage of justice within the jurisdiction of the prosecution staff, regional prosecution office, and the provincial prosecutor or the city prosecutor,” he said.

“The present request is premature since the Department has yet to act directly over the case,” Aguirre pointed out.

At the same time, Aguirre explained that though Office of the Ombudsman has begun its own probe into the death of Kian, it has limited jurisdiction over the case.

“Although the Office of the Ombudsman has the power and authority to investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient, its primary jurisdiction is however limited to cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan,” he said.