Senator disappointed with alleged judicial corruption-A A +A
Friday, October 11, 2013
(UPDATED) Senator Grace Poe on Friday expressed dismay over reports of corruption in the judiciary allegedly perpetrated by a certain "Maam Arlene."
"A house cleaning in all branches of government is warranted as it is necessary. No one is immune to the temptation of corruption," Poe said following reports that the judiciary has its own version of Janet Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
Napoles, who is now facing plunder charges, among others, allegedly used her influence also with some lawmakers to corner their pork barrel.
Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno earlier called on whistleblowers to come forward to help in the investigation into the alleged systematic corruption in the judiciary. She even urged lawyers to help in gathering evidence.
Sereno admitted that her office had received dozens of letters accusing certain judges of corruption and bias, citing their supposed unjust decisions or rulings.
Reports said "Ma'am Arlene" wields influence in the judiciary the way alleged pork barrel scam operator Napoles influenced lawmakers.
Based on his initial findings, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said Friday "Maam Arlene" can be a clerk of the Court of Appeals, former employee of the Manila Regional Trial Court or a known contact in the Manila City Hall.
Marquez declined to divulge the identity of the three Arlenes.
He said the controversy stemmed from allegations that a candidate for presidency of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) was supported by "Maam Arlene."
Judge Ralph Lee of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, who won the election, and fellow candidates Judge Rommel Baybay (Makati) and Judge Felix Reyes (Makati) were already ordered to comment on the issue.
The PJA elections/convention was held on Wednesday and Thursday.
Malacanang said Friday that it supports the move of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to investigate the alleged Napoles-type scam in the judiciary.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a press briefing, however, said that there was no move yet from the judiciary to seek the assistance of the executive branch to uncover the reported anomaly.
"There have been several columns detailing a similar figure that is allegedly operating in the judiciary and I understand that the Office of the Court Administrator has initiated an investigation on this...so it’s only proper that the judiciary is the one that conducts its own investigation," she said. (Virgil Lopez/Camille P. Balagtas/SDR/Sunnex)