Ping sues DoJ chief over bounty for barangay officials

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — SENATOR Panfilo Lacson yesterday filed charges against Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez before the Office of the Ombudsman for his alleged promise to give P10,000 each to the barangay officials in Iloilo City who could deliver a 12-0 win for the senatorial candidates of the Team Unity (TU).

Lacson, accompanied by his legal counsels led by Atty. Alex Avisado filed the charges of violations of Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

The re-electionist senatorial candidate said that he filed the cases as a taxpayer, as a personal act and not as part of his campaign strategy.

“I would like to treat this as a test case considering that it is the justice secretary who is being sued. I would like to determine how independent the Office of the Ombudsman under Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez. I had high hopes for her to be independent on this case,” Lacson said.

It would be recalled that Gonzalez publicly announced last week that he would be giving P10,000 to each barangay official who could deliver a 12-0 win for TU candidates in Iloilo City.

Gonzalez further claimed that the money would be coming from his own pocket and that he would not be violating any law, particularly vote-buying, since he is not a candidate.

But Lacson said that it is not only the issue on the violation of the Omnibus Election Code since there are other laws that are applicable on Gonzalez’ case.

“Maliwanag naman ang letra ng batas na any person na nag-offer, nag-promise, influence, induce sa ibang government officials, it is an act of graft and corruption. He announced his promise with such arrogance and impunity. He should put a stop in such manner,” Lacson stressed.

The senator also challenged Gonzalez to really make good of his threat of giving money to the barangay officials.

“Si Gonzalez mismo ang No. 1 evidence namin since he publicly announced his promise,” Lacson added.

Attached with the three-page complaint-affidavit of Lacson was the copy of the compact disc containing the several media interviews on Gonzalez.