DOJ allows prosecutors to support anti-pork protest
MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila De Lima did not prevent state prosecutors from participating in today's people's protest for the abolition of the pork barrel.
In a text message, De Lima said she will not prevent members of her department from supporting any legitimate cause.
"Like other Filipino citizens, our prosecutors have the right to join any peaceful assembly and express their sentiments on, and support to, any legitimate cause, such as abolition of the pork barrel. We all have reasons to be enraged and outraged!" De Lima said.
Prosecutor General Claro Arellano also said the department's prosecutors should not be barred from exercising their right to support legitimate advocacies, for as long as their official functions are not compromised.
"The anti-pork mass action is deemed a non-partisan activity though it may be considered political in character since it involved issues of good governance.
"A prosecutor who on his own personal advocacy joins the rally not on official time is well within his right to do so as any citizen of this republic. This right is recognized without prejudice to individual responsibility," he said.
The Prosecutors League of the Philippines (PLP), through its president, Northern Mindanao Regional Prosecutor Jaime Umpa, joined calls for the abolition of the pork barrel funds, saying it has been a "source of corruption."
The PLP said the people must be watchful against moves to merely change the funds' name.
"We support for the total abolition of the pork barrel because it was proven to be a source of corruption. While we are glad that there are call for its abolition, the filipino people should be vigilant in order that the pork barrel shall not be resurrected again by changing its name," Umpa pointed out.