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Department of Justice DOJ Official on Extortion Probe
« on: December 25, 2017, 07:23:50 PM »
DOJ prosecutor indicted for mulcting PAL employees
12 August 2013, Press Release Ombudsman

OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales today ordered the filing of criminal charges against a senior prosecutor of the Department of Justice (DOJ) who was caught attempting to extort P2.5 million from members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) in an entrapment operation last August 8, 2013.

In an eight-page Resolution signed today, Ombudsman Morales found probable cause to indict Assistant State Prosecutor III Diosdado Bernales Solidum, Jr. for Direct Bribery (Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code) and for violation of Section 7(d) in relation to Section 11 of Republic Act (RA) No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).

Records show that Solidum initially demanded the amount of P10,000 from each PALEA member/respondent or an equivalent of P2.5 million which was later reduced to a sum of P1.2 million payable in installment, in exchange for the dismissal of the charges filed against the PALEA members.

The PALEA members appealed a Pasay City Prosecutors Office resolution finding probable cause to criminally charge 241 members of PALEA for violation of the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008 arising from their work stoppage in September 2011, which appeal via a Petition for Review filed with the DOJ was assigned to Solidum for resolution.

Complainant Gerardo Rivera, PALEA president, claimed that Solidum asked for a July 29, 2013 meeting in Quezon City where Solidum intimated that reversing a prosecutor’s resolution would entail costs, to which Rivera replied that the matter was already in the judicial dispute resolution where it will be hopefully resolved in their favor. Rivera narrated that Solidum reminded that “dalawang beses na kayo natalo” and assured him that he can reverse the decision at the earlier stated amount.

Rivera then reported the matter to the Secretary of Justice who, in turn, directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to act on it.

In the evening of August 8, 2013, NBI conducted an entrapment operation at the vicinity of Spring Deer Restaurant along Timog Avenue in Quezon City, which led to Solidum’s arrest where he was caught in the act of receiving the envelope containing the marked money.

The Resolution held that “as Assistant State Prosecutor of the [DOJ], respondent [Solidum] is duty bound to decide or resolve all cases assigned to him based on merits.”

“All the elements of the offense charged are present” and “respondent…is a public officer discharging his official functions,” it added.##

The two Informations were filed with the Sandiganbayan at noon today.

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