DOJ may help SC in ‘Ma’am Arlene’ probe

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima expressed readiness to help the judiciary in probing corruption among justices, judges and court personnel, particularly in the case of alleged influence-peddler “Ma’am Arlene.”

De Lima said the Department of Justice, through the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), can join the probe if Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno asks for it.

u201cAt this point, I would not want to preempt any move or initiative that the leadership of the judiciary, a separate and co-equal branch, would deem proper to undertake relative to those allegations of a ‘Napoles’ in the judiciary,” said de Lima, referring to businesswoman Janet Napoles, the alleged brains of the pork barrel scam involving some lawmakers.

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, who supervises lower courts in the country, has already conducted a “discreet” investigation into reports that a certain “Ma’am Arlene” threw parties and showered gifts to justices and judges in exchange for favorable rulings on behalf of her clients.

Her identity has yet to be known although Marquez said she can be a clerk from the Court of Appeals, a former employee of the Manila Regional Trial Court and a known contact from Manila City Hall.

u201cBut these are all raw information. So let’s wait for results of further investigation,” he said in a text message.

Marquez had said the issue may be related to last week’s elections of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA).

Judge Ralph Lee of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, who won the presidency, and fellow candidates Judge Rommel Baybay (Makati) and Judge Felix Reyes (Makati) were already ordered to comment on the controversy. (Sunnex)

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