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    Mitra explains why DoJ took over government probe into UST bubble

    Sep 4, 2020

    THE Department of Justice (DoJ) will be the lead government agency to file a case against University of Santo Tomas if the school is found guilty of violating quarantine protocols with its secret training in Capuy, Sorsogon.

    Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra explained that the DoJ has the power to investigate with the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) unlike the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases).

    “The IATF is a policy making body while the DoJ can pursue an investigation,” said Mitra on Friday. “If they (DoJ) found them guilty, yes (it will file a case). And the DoJ is a member of the IATF.”

    Mitra made the clarification following the meeting of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) Group with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Friday to discuss possible violations committed by UST on quarantine protocols crafted by a panel made up of the GAB, Department of Health, and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

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    The group will submit a written report of its findings to the DoJ next week.

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    Along with Mitra, also present during the meeting were PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, Rodley Carza of the DoH, and CHED chairman Popoy De Vera.

    Ironically, both the DoH and CHED are also members of the IATF, with the health secretary serving as chairman of the Task Force.

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    Mitra refused to talk on what the result of the UST internal probe was since among the JAO members, only the DoH was given a copy of the investigation, citing the data privacy law.

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      But a source said some members of the IATF felt offended when UST sent two lawyers to present the outcome of its investigation on the ‘Sorsogon bubble’ to UAAP officials and the JAO panel.

      The Pontifical school was represented by legal counsel Atty. Alfonso Verzosa and Atty. Elgin Michael Perez.

      In contrast, National University, which is also under the microscope for allegedly conducting premature training with its women’s volleyball team, was represent by athletic director Otie Camangian.

      During the UAAP Board of Management Directors meeting, news came out of a possible ban or suspension against Ayo by the collegiate league, although there was hardly no mention of a likely sanction to be meted out against UST.

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      The Management Directors has also sent its recommendation to the UAAP Board of Trustees, composed of presidents of the eighth member schools.

      Mitra said he can’t speak for the UAAP if it only plans to sanction Ayo and not the entire university.

      But he doesn’t want to speculate either if the collegiate body will be spared by the IATF or not if it refuses to take action against UST.

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      “Let’s see,” said Mitra, noting that NU has yet to submit its official report on its women’s volleyball team’s supposed secret training.

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