De Lima: Leave Ombudsman alone
MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday said the Office of the Ombudsman should be left alone as it conducts its own investigation into the pork barrel scam.
"It is not proper for us to be pressuring the Ombudsman," she said.
De Lima was responding to criticisms against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales who earlier estimated that it may take her as long as a year to resolve the complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at her office.
"It doesn't mean full one year. It can be less than one year. Inappropriate for us na sasabihin natin matagal iyan," she said.
De Lima clarified before Congress that the NBI only held a fact-finding investigation and it is only the Ombudsman that can conduct a determination of probable cause in cases like the pork barrel scam.
"May ni-recommend ang NBI na i-prosecute. You cannot just directly prosecute them. Dadaan sila sa proseso called preliminary investigation, evaluation of sufficency of evidence for purposes of determining probable cause, bago mag-file sa Sandiganbayan," she explained.
"Hindi natin pwede madaliin iyan. May ebidensiya, andiyan affdiavits, andiyan sangkatutak na documentary evidience and sa tingin ng NBI, sapat na 'yun pero siyemrpe may mga standards na kailangan busisiin ang Ombudsman in terms of determining probable cause," she added.
"That's our expectation, what we hope the Ombudsman to be convinced there's probable cause."