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W. Visayas leader takes swipe at DOJ

July 24, 2007

THE SOUTHERN BEAT By Rolly Espina
Philippine Star, July 24, 2007

(Excerpt)

NEGRENSE officials expressed hopes that the torrid issue on the speakership of the House of Representatives could end before yesterday’s State of the National Address by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

One of those who optimistically predicted that the issue could be settled before the President addresses the joint session of 14th Congress yesterday was Rep. Monico Puentevella (Bacolod City).

Of course, that had never happened before – the postponement of the SONA. Very unlikely that could occur. But the determined effort by the forces behind Rep. Pablo Garcia (Cebu) to demand for a secret balloting was the one that led to the impasse Saturday.

Still, it is our hope that the leaders of the lower chamber could settle their dispute over the speakership and come up with a compromise before the actual delivery of the SONA.

But Western Visayas was jarred when Presidential Adviser for Western Visayas Rafael Coscolluela took to task the Department of Justice for doing nothing or simply sitting down on the Guimaras Oil Spill, the country’s worst environmental disaster.

Although that was played up by the Panay News, a daily that has consistently been opposed to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, the article was detailed in recounting what Coscolluela stated during the launching of the Department of Tourism ecological tourism initiative.

Coscolluela reported revealed that last month, during the meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, he had raised his concern. That the Senate and the Special Board of Marine Inquiry investigation reports had been forwarded to the DOJ. The department, however, apparently sat on it.

At the time, before the NDCC meet, Coscolluela said the DOJ representative was not aware of the status of the case.

“Maybe, Coscolluela pointed out, the DOJ is still gathering more evidences prior to the filing of charges. What charges to file, and against whom to file.”

Whatever the merit of the public complaint by Coscolluela, the DOJ secretary cannot just shrug it off.

We hope acting DOJ chief Raul Gonzalez can clarify the seeming wishy-shy attitude of the DOJ over the Guimaras oil spill.

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