CEBU Provincial Prosecutor Ludivico Vistal Cutaran stands pat on his move to temporarily deputize police investigators to prosecute in first-level courts.
This, despite the Provincial Board’s (PB) request to reinstate provincial prosecutors assigned in Municipal Trial Courts (MTC), Municipal Circuit Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts in Cities.
Cutaran and some of his fellow prosecutors were at the Capitol session hall on Monday afternoon, Oct. 21, 2019, to shed light on the matter.
“Our job is not limited to merely court appearances,” he said, adding that they have to beat deadlines, write resolutions and conduct conduct collusion investigations. “We have to write case conferences,” said Cutaran.
A memorandum issued by Cutaran on Sept. 23, 2019 states that the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor has been “short-handed” in handling several cases.
There are 26 provincial prosecutors handling 48 Regional Trial Courts and 21 first-level courts.
Cutaran said tapping the help of police investigators in prosecuting cases in first-level courts is in accordance with Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court.
Asked if the Department of Justice has been informed about his memorandum, Cutaran replied, “No, but I told the regional prosecutor about this.”
But for neophyte PB Member John Ismael Borgonia, it would be “unfair” for private complainants to have their cases prosecuted by police prosecutors.
The complainants, he said, may have to resort to tapping private prosecutors instead.
“This is a great injustice to private complainants because we all know for a fact that our police officers are for law enforcement, not for prosecutorial duties,” Borgonia said.
Borgonia, a lawyer himself, said prosecutors undergo years of strenuous studying and training before they can handle cases.
“We all know for a fact that the police officers are not capable of handling cases, no offense to them. I am also a lawyer. We studied for four years and spent a year to review (for the Bar exams). The training for police officers is not enough to handle these cases before MTCs. They are no match to veteran lawyers in skills that need to be acquired through years of experience,” he said.
Borgonia said Cutaran’s problem could be solved with proper delegation and scheduling of prosecutors. (RTF)