Opposition MPs block parliament over move to give sweeping powers to pres commissions

Angry opposition lawmakers blocked the parliament sitting on Tuesday in protest against the government led bill to grant sweeping powers to two presidential commissions established to investigate murders and enforced disappearances and corruption.

The government, through the bill has aimed to empower the two commissions with authority to conduct criminal investigations, file criminal charges and freeze accounts of suspects.

The bill also mandates the prosecutor's office to set up a separate department to fast-track prosecutions in just 15 days while the courts would be obligated to settle the entire judicial process in 60 days.

During the debate on the bill, opposition lawmakers insisted that the move was unconstitutional.

The lawmakers pointed out that the move to limit the period of the investigations from January 1, 2012 to November 17, 2018 was clearly specified to launch a 'witch-hunt' against officials of the previous government ahead of the parliamentary elections next year.