By Jeffrey Damicog
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has assured it never had a backlog of cases.
The OSG made the statement in response to accusations, including those from Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, that it has been busy running after the critics of President Rodrigo Duterte instead of focusing on the over a million “backlog” cases since 2017.
The OSG pointed out the cases which were cited from the Commission on Audit (COA) reports in 2017 and 2018 “do not refer to cases that have not been acted upon by the OSG.”
“These figures simply refer to cases which are pending before various courts and quasi-judicial bodies. Hence, the term ‘backlog’ is a mischaracterization of the actual status of the cases,” it argued.
The OSG explained it is “not a court of law which is mandated to resolve cases. As they should have known is the principal law office of the Government, its agencies, and instrumentalities.”
“Its main function is to render legal services, which includes representing its clients before courts and quasi-judicial bodies,” it added.
The OSG has been accused of conflict of interest in helping the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in filing a criminal complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against members of the opposition who are suspected behind the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” viral videos.
The videos feature a hooded “Bikoy,” who was later revealed to be Peter Joemel Advincula, and had accused members of the Duterte family as being involved in the illegal drugs trade.
However, Advincula retracted his claims and accused members of the opposition, including Robredo, as being behind the videos which were meant to be used to destabilize the administration. The OSG had already admitted preparing the sworn statements of Advincula.
The OSG also refuted Robredo’s accusations that its participation in the PNP-CIDG complaint is part of its scheme in lawyering for former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. since he is already seen as losing in his electoral protest against her.
“Her allegations are totally outrageous,” stressed the OSG who accused her of making “biased and self-serving” statements since she is included as a respondent in the complaint.
The OSG assured that Solicitor General Jose Calida is “not lawyering for the Marcoses.”
“He (Calida) is simply performing his duty as the legal defender of the Republic of the Philippines and tribune of the people. The OSG’s participation in Bikoy’s affidavit is not in any way linked to the Marcoses but the Office is merely rendering its legal services to the PNP-CIDG, as one of its clients,” it explained.