MANILA — Despite calls from several groups to sack Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Ernesto Diokno over the alleged abuse of former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste of his “living out” privileges, President Benigno Aquino III is not keen on immediately using his disciplinary powers over his appointee.
“Habang may panawagan, may process that we need to undergo bago makapagdesisyon kung ano yung liability at culpability ni Director Diokno dun sa naging incident,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over government-run dzRB radio.
“We expect in the coming days to find out the recommendation and decision of President Aquino based on the findings of the panel,” she said.
De Lima sought to put Diokno under preventive suspension but only the President has the disciplinary powers over the BuCor director.
Diokno earlier said prisoners who can be trusted not to escape are given the privilege to “live out” of the regular NBP prison facilities.
“‘Living out’ prisoners aren’t guarded as heavily as the other prisoners,” he said.
But de Lima said: “If you know that things like that happen within your area of responsibility, you should have done something at first instance more than just giving a warning to the inmate.”
The former Batangas governor, who was convicted of homicide in 2009 for killing his longtime aide and friend Rafael de las Alas in 2007, was arrested last Wednesday outside the LPL Building in Makati City for leaving the national penitentiary without the approval of authorities.
The Justice secretary formed a fact-finding committee, composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Dacanay, with Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Ma. Emilia Victorio, National Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Ruel Lasala, and State Counsel Wilberto Tolitol and Charlene Mae Tapic as members, to look into the matter.
The panel conducted its ocular inspection of the NBP’s minimum security compound Saturday.
De Lima wants to find out how Leviste was able to leave the jail, how many times he did it, and to punish those responsible.
On Friday, Leviste was charged with evasion of service of sentence in the Makati Metropolitan Trial Court (MMTC).
If found guilty of the new charge, 6-12 more years will be added to his existing prison sentence of 6-12 years since 2009.
The House Committee on Justice will conduct a hearing this week to probe the said incident.
Diokno and other officials will be summoned to the committee hearing scheduled on May 25.
Officials from the Bureau of Pardons and Parole, and the Department of Justice will also be invited. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)
- [In the news] Leviste to be charged with ‘evasion of sentence’ – BuCor – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [In the news] VIP prisoners face probe – INQUIRER.net (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [In the news] De Lima: Heads will roll in Leviste incident | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [Press Release] Rights group calls for full probe over Antonio Leviste’s vacation and urges the immediate release of Mariano Umbrero (hronlineph.wordpress.com)