MANILA — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday confirmed that her office is conducting its own probe into the murder of Kian Delos Santos, a 17-year-old student killed in anti-drug operations in Caloocan City early this month.
“We already started our fact-finding investigation,” Morales told reporters in an interview after a Senate panel hearing on her office’s proposed 2018 budget.
In an earlier Senate probe on the incident, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II if he would allow the Ombudsman to conduct its own probe.
Aguirre nixed Drilon’s proposal noting that transferring the investigation to the Ombudsman would be as good as admitting that his department is “incapable” of probing the case.
Drilon, however, reiterated that the Ombudsman has concurrent jurisdiction over the Kian slay case.
“The Ombudsman has confirmed that she has concurrent jurisdiction with the DOJ insofar as Kian’s killing is concerned,” Drilon told reporters in a separate interview.
“She is, in fact, conducting a fact-finding investigation on the same case, on a number of issues. She told me that she’s conducting a fact-finding investigation and she confirmed that indeed she has concurrent jurisdiction,” he added.
Drilon, a lawyer, explained that although all the respondents have salary grades below 27 which means the case must be filed before the regional trial court (RTC) and not in the Sandiganbayan, the Ombudsman still has jurisdiction as preliminary and fact-finding is concerned.
“…If the Ombudsman can investigate impeachable officers, they conduct an investigation only that they cannot file cases against an impeachable officer, they can, in fact, conduct a preliminary investigation,” Drilon stressed.
“If the Ombudsman can conduct preliminary investigations on impeachable officials, how much more of an ordinary policeman? That only indicates the erroneous interpretation of the justice secretary in the desire to just assume the jurisdiction over the investigation,” he added. (PNA)