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Alejano asks CA: Stop DOJ’s probe of sedition raps

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Former Magdalo party-list representative Gary Alejano has asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to stop the conduct of the preliminary investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the sedition complaint filed against him and other members of the opposition over their alleged involvement in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series.

Alejano has filed before the CA a petition for prohibition which sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the preliminary investigation and prevent the panel of prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas from handling and resolving the case.

“In the instant case, there is factual basis to support an urgent and paramount need to issue a TRO to prevent or irreparable injury that petitioners might suffer before the matter could be heart,” read the petition that he filed along with fellow Magdalo member Jonnell Sangalang.

In his petition, they pointed out that the panel has no authority to conduct the preliminary investigation since it was created by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Citing the Prosecution Service Act, Alejano said the justice secretary can only create a panel to conduct a preliminary investigation if the complaint involves national security or probable miscarriage committed by state prosecutors.

“Since none of the crimes alleged in the ‘Complaint’ involve national security, the Secretary of Justice cannot directly involve himself therein by issuing Department Order No. 366. Given the clear limitation by the Prosecution Service Act on his powers, he has no authority and power whatsoever to constitute the panel of prosecutors that should investigate the case,” he stated.

“Considering that the Secretary of Justice has no power to constitute respondent panel given the stated circumstances above, it is similarly devoid of authority to conduct the preliminary investigation of this case,” he added.

Alejano also argued that the panel cannot allow the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to represent the complainant, the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).

The former lawmaker noted that the OSG cited provisions of the Presidential Decree 478 and Administrative Code of 1987 as basis in representing the PNP-CIDG.

However, Alejano pointed out the same laws indicated that the OSG can only “Represent the Government in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in all criminal proceedings.”

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