Lacierda: Wait for probe on Padaca 'VIP treatment'

Posted at 10/11/2012 7:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Palace on Thursday kept mum on the allegations of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) spokesman Toby Tiangco, who criticized the reported preferential treatment that the Sandiganbayan gave to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Commission on Elections Commissioner Grace Padaca.

Reports quoted as Tiangco saying that Roxas and Padaca were allowed to use the basement parking of the Sandiganbayan last week as they posted her bail.

However, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Tiangco should just wait for the Sandiganbayan investigation on the issue.

"Siguro magandang tanungin ni Congressman Toby Tiangco ang Sandiganbayan na lang. In fact, iniimbestiga po ng Sandiganbayan kung ano 'yung nangyari doon sa situation. Let's wait for the investigation results, as ordered by Sandiganbayan justices" said Lacierda.

Tiangco alleged that Roxas and Padaca were accorded special treatment upon the orders of an unnamed Sandiganbayan justice.

Tiangco said results of a Sandiganbayan investigation on the alleged security breach at the anti-graft court should be made public.

“As a co-equal branch of government, the judiciary must always be seen as independent. But the report, if true, would gravely undermine the independence of the Sandiganbayan in the eyes of the people,” he said.

A Philippine Star report earlier said security guards, employees, and even justices of the Sandiganbayan are now under investigation for allegedly violating security protocols when they gave special treatment to Roxas and Padaca.

Sources said the investigation is being conducted to determine who could be held administratively liable for the unauthorized use of the anti-graft court’s basement parking area.

Associate Justice Jose Hernandez, as chair of the Sandiganbayan’s committee on security and safety, ordered a probe specifically against a bailiff who allegedly claimed that he was acting under the orders of another justice.

In an initial investigation report, Security and Sheriff Services Division chief Albert dela Cruz said all court security personnel are pointing the finger at Security Guard 3 (SG3) Roland Woods, acting bailiff of the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division where Padaca is charged with allegedly misusing P25 million in government funds when she was governor of Isabela. - with a report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News