PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org
HEADLINES NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)
FOCUS ON DE LIMA
(While “being lynched” for doing her job, De Lima remains hopeful that justice will eventually prove her right, and that her detractors will “eventually snap out of it.” )
[RELATED: Duterte - De Lima will rot in jail]
[RELATED(2) On Durete talk: De Lima - PHL, China, Russia vs. the world? 'Malaking kahibangan!'(Delusional]
OCTOBER 16 -“Like going for a drive, stepping out of your car and slowly realizing you’re in the Twilight Zone,” Sen. Leila de Lima said of the “crass” and “bizarre” way she has been pilloried by several officials for her alleged links to the illegal drug trade in the country’s national prison. “The things that are happening, words that are being said, the way in which they are being said, the shameless lack of decency in the rhetoric, the blatant character assassination—it’s surreal that people can still get away with that behavior at this day and age, in this planet,” De Lima said. Resigning had entered her mind, she admitted, adding that opting out might divert public attention from her alleged list of bagmen-lovers, to the real issues like extrajudicial killings, poverty and the traffic crisis. But the neophyte senator said giving up might do the democracy more harm than good. READ MORE... RELATED, Duterte: De Lima will rot in jail ...WATCH VIDEO GORDON ENDING EJK SENATE PROBE...RELATED(2), De Lima: PHL, China, Russia vs. the world? 'Malaking kahibangan!'...
ALSO Focus: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II
[RELATED: Anti-De Lima convicts found applying for pardon]
OCTOBER 16 -EARLIER PHOTO of Vitaliano Aguirre II when Sen Santiago cited him with contempt of court during prosecution of CJ Corona in 2012. INQUIRER file photo If President Duterte’s trademark sign is a closed fist, former President Benigno Aquino III an “L” sign and former President Fidel Ramos a “thumbs-up” gesture, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s signature pose is cupping his ears. Aguirre caught the public’s attention after he was berated and cited for contempt by the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago during the impeachment proceedings against then Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012. Aguirre was a member of the prosecution, and the feisty senator went off the handle when they dropped five of the seven articles of impeachment. Santiago branded Aguirre’s gesture an “intergalactic act of epal” but the man who would later become President Duterte’s chief legal enforcer in his antidrug war stood his ground. A contrite Aguirre later apologized to the senator. Now, he has been dubbed the “master of fakery” by arch nemesis, Sen. Leila De Lima, who has denounced Aguirre’s recent attacks against her at a congressional inquiry. READ MORE...RELATED, Anti-De Lima convicts found applying for pardon...
ALSO: No Lead - Ombudsman Morales won’t probe De Lima
[ALSO: De Lima to 'naive' Duterte: Stop making yourself enemy of the world]
OCTOBER 18 -INQUIRER FILE PHOTO: NO LEAD Everything is just an allegation so far, says Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales when asked if shewill investigate Sen. Leila de Lima’s alleged links to drug trafficking activities at New Bilibid Prison when shewas then justice secretary. “It’s not going to happen,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said on Monday when asked by reporters if her office would initiate its own investigation of Sen. Leila de Lima. Morales cited a lack of firm leads establishing De Lima’s connection to the proliferation of illegal drugs at New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when the senator was justice secretary in the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. “Everything is just an allegation so far,” she said. “There is no lead that will prompt us to initiate an investigation.” READ MORE...ALSO, De Lima to 'naive' Duterte: Stop making yourself enemy of the world...
ALSO: House - Leila accountable for NBP’s drugs rise
[RELATED: DOJ to study pardon for 5 witnesses vs De Lima]
OCTOBER 19 -Aguirre denies pardon for convicts The House committee on justice yesterday unanimously approved its committee report finding then Justice Secretary now Sen. Leila de Lima accountable for the proliferation of the illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). The justice panel headed by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali said almost all the witnesses had testified to de Lima’s involvement in the drug trade. The panel, however, said that the determination of probable cause to support the filing of appropriate charges against her is the function of the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Aside from de Lima, the panel also reported the involvement of Ronnie Dayan, the senator’s former driver, in the drug trade as testified to by the witnesses. The panel, however, admitted that it failed to establish whether Dayan was acting on orders of de Lima as he failed to appear before the panel. A warrant of arrest wassaid to have been issued against Dayan, who is also a subject of a lookout order. READ MORE...RELATED, DOJ to study pardon for 5 witnesses vs De Lima...
ALSO De Lima on House justice body report: A sham conclusion
[RELATED: House divided over Leila’s fate: Minority demands filing of criminal raps]
[RELATED(2): De Lima eyes further hearings on extra-judicial killings]
OCTOBER 19 -Senator Leila de Lima speaks at a mass for Option for Life at the CBCP Chapel in Manila on Monday, October 10, 2016 in celebration of the World Day Against Death Penalty. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE/Philippine Daily Inquirer A “sham” conclusion. This was how Senator Leila de Lima described on Wednesday the findings of the House of Representatives committee on justice that all pieces of evidence pointed to her alleged involvement in the proliferation of the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison when she was still Justice Secretary. “Meaning, the lies are sufficient? What evidence are they talking about?” De Lima said when told that the panel supposedly found sufficient evidence against her. She said the convicted felons, who testified against her in the House inquiry, were “lying,” and “perjured” witnesses. READ MORE...RELATED, House divided over Leila’s fate: Minority demands filing of criminal raps... RELATED(2) De Lima eyes further hearings on extra-judicial killings...
ALSO EARLIER NEWS: The former hubby, and the alleged Leila & Cesar Mancao’s Relationship Status
[RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Leila De Lima]
JUNE 3016 -Leila de Lima Former Justice Secretary and newly-elected senator Leila de Lima denies any involvement with fugitive cop Cesar Mancao particularly in terms of her relationship status. In an interview with Manila Times, Leila de Lima refused to comment on allegations that she has an illicit affair with Cesar Mancao, a former police officer.The issue of the real status of Leila de Lima and Cesar Mancao’s relationship came out when Sandra Cam, a senatorial candidate who lost during the 2016 elections bared to the media that she got some video evidence proving her claimed that the former Justice Secretary and the fugitive cop was involved in a romantic relationship. READ MORE... RELATED, Everything You Need To Know About Leila De Lima...
READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:
Focus on Leila De Lima
Sen. Leila De Lima. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES
MANILA, OCTOBER 24, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Tarra Quismundo / @TarraINQ October 16, 2016 - “Like going for a drive, stepping out of your car and slowly realizing you’re in the Twilight Zone,” Sen. Leila de Lima said of the “crass” and “bizarre” way she has been pilloried by several officials for her alleged links to the illegal drug trade in the country’s national prison.
“The things that are happening, words that are being said, the way in which they are being said, the shameless lack of decency in the rhetoric, the blatant character assassination—it’s surreal that people can still get away with that behavior at this day and age, in this planet,” De Lima said.
Resigning had entered her mind, she admitted, adding that opting out might divert public attention from her alleged list of bagmen-lovers, to the real issues like extrajudicial killings, poverty and the traffic crisis. But the neophyte senator said giving up might do the democracy more harm than good.
“I’m in fighting mode,” De Lima said, responding to the Inquirer’s questions through e-mail.
In recent weeks, the senator and former justice secretary has been the subject of a House hearing led by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II that saw a parade of drug convicts and criminals pinning her down for allegedly receiving billions in drug money that she reportedly used for her senatorial campaign. To establish her intimate relationship with a former driver who was allegedly also her bagman, the hearing also threatened to show a sex video of the couple, which did not materialize.
Davao Death Squad
President Duterte himself publicly vowed to “bring (De Lima) down publicly” in one of his speeches shortly before the alleged drug links were dredged up. As chair of the Commission on Human Rights, De Lima had previously linked then Davao City Mayor Duterte to Davao Death Squad.
She has denied the drug links and the alleged list of boyfriends, declaring emotionally at one point: “Stop this! Arrest me now!”
She explained on Saturday: “I can’t say that I am not affected about everything that is being said about me—not so much as it hurts me, but because it hurts the people who care for me. I signed for this—they didn’t. So for that, I feel bad.”
Though she may be up against an entire administration, the senator credits her battle endurance to faith and fellow Filipinos.
“Aside from my family, friends and supporters, I primarily draw strength from my faith in a higher power and a higher purpose,” said De Lima, a mother of two.
She has always relied on such omniscient power, she said. “People may call that God, the Karmic powers of the Universe, or Destiny…whatever it may be, I draw power from my faith that everything happens for a reason, and that reason is to somehow lead me to be a better and stronger person than I was before,” De Lima said.
“In that sense, I also draw strength from the Filipino people—believe it or not, whether or not they support me or bash me. Because I took an oath to defend their rights, not just the rights of the people who voted me into office… They are part of that higher purpose,” she said.
Added De Lima: “There is some comfort and some sense of accomplishment in being able to say that, though you malign me and do not appreciate what I do—I will still defend you,” De Lima said.
While “being lynched” for doing her job, De Lima remains hopeful that justice will eventually prove her right, and that her detractors will “eventually snap out of it.”
“Anything is possible. But, to be honest, I think it would take a miracle to make these people admit that they were wrong about me and how they treated me,” De Lima said.
VIDEO: SENATE HEARING - NAG WAGE ANG PLANO! SEN. DE LIMA AT HONTEVOROS NAG KAMAYAN SA SENATE SESSION OCT. 19,2016
NAG WAGE ANG PLANO! SEN. DE LIMA AT HONTEVOROS NAG KAMAYAN SA SENATE SESSION OCT. 19,2016 Pres. Rodrego Roa Duterte Video's Pres. Rodrego Roa Duterte Video's Subscribe Add to Share More 6,589 views 22 4 Published on Oct 19, 2016 NAG WAGE ANG PLANO! SEN. DE LIMA AT HONTEVOROS NAG KAMAYAN SA SENATE SESSION OCT. 19,2016
RELATED FROM PHILSTAR
Duterte: De Lima will rot in jail By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 20, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0
President Duterte said that he saw Sen. Leila de Lima suffering the fate of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was placed in hospital detention without bail during the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III on charges of corruption and poll cheating. PPD | AP, file
BEIJING – A House panel may have refused to recommend criminal charges against Sen. Leila de Lima, but President Duterte is confident that the former justice secretary “will rot in jail” for involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Duterte told reporters here yesterday that he saw De Lima suffering the fate of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was placed in hospital detention without bail during the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III on charges of corruption and poll cheating.
The charges were eventually dismissed, allowing her
to attend House sessions during her third term as representative of Pampanga’s second district.
Interestingly, De Lima was the justice secretary when the cases against Arroyo were filed.
“The testimonies of those who lined up there previously, and given the test of the crucible of direct and cross-examination and put it to the test, I am telling you now, she is in danger of going to jail,” Duterte said here. “And remember, the moment the indictments are filed in court, there is no bail. And she could (experience) what Gloria Arroyo suffered.”
De Lima is being investigated by the Department of Justice on accusations that she collected money from drug lords to finance her senatorial bid during the 2016 polls. Inmates of the New Bilibid Prison also claimed during congressional hearings that De Lima had granted special privileges to high-value convicts when she was justice secretary.
De Lima has denied the allegations and claimed that Duterte is out to assassinate her character because she has been critical of his brutal war on drugs. She also predicted that Duterte would be embarrassed for making false allegations.
But the President is convinced that the inmates who tagged De Lima in the narcotics trade were telling the truth. He has portrayed De Lima in several speeches as the example of a narco politician.
“You think those officials who testified against her were lying? These so many NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) agents and all? And her odious character,” he said. “She (talks) as if she is raising the view of womanhood to take away the heat (from her)…If those (drug) connections are true, she will rot in jail. She will rot in jail. It’s no bail because not only did she encourage (and allow) shabu to enter (the penitentiary) in and out, she was a principal by direct participation.”
VIDEO: GORDON ON TRILLANES ACCUSING HIM OF 'COVER-UP'
SEN. GORDON NANINDIGANG TULDUKAN NG TULOYAN ANG EJK HEARING. BUMANAT KAY DE LIMA AT TRILLANES PINOY VIRAL VIDEOS PINOY VIRAL VIDEOS Subscribe7,435 Add to Share More 32,226 views 596 17 Published on Oct 19, 2016
RELATED(2) FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK
De Lima: PHL, China, Russia vs. the world? 'Malaking kahibangan!' Published October 21, 2016 5:46pm By ERWIN COLCOL, GMA News Senator Leila De Lima on Friday criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent pronouncement that the Philippines will join forces with China and Russia, calling the plan “crazy.”
“Ano na naman ‘yung sinasabi na ‘It's the Philippines, China and Russia against the world?’ Malaking kahibangan!” De Lima said in a women's rights forum in Quezon City.
In his visit to China, Duterte said he wants to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to forge closer relations.
"I realign myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin. There are three of us against the world. China, Philippines, Russia," Duterte said.
To this, De Lima said, “Ano kayang meron sa China, na kung anong pag-aaway at pagmumura ang ginagawa ng Pangulong Duterte sa mga bansang nagmamalasakit sa atin ay sobra-sobra naman ang kabaitan niya sa China kahit na inaangkin nila ang ating teritoryo?”
Aside from this, De Lima also scored Duterte’s announcement that the Philippines will cut its military and economic ties with the United States.
She said the president should have consulted the Filipino people first before making such move.
“It's an earth-shaking announcement. Wala man siyang respeto sa atin, na sana nagpaalam muna siya atin bago niya i-announce yun sa ibang bansa,” De Lima said.
The senator reiterated her stand that she wanted to maintain close diplomatic ties with the neighboring countries of the Philippines.
“It is because of this that I am deeply concerned that the president's foreign policy and pronouncements, especially yung kakasabi pa lang niya sa China,” she said.
De Lima had earlier expressed her concern over the Duterte administration’s shift in foreign policy, saying, “I don’t think majority of our people like that.” — VVP, GMA News
Focus: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II By: Tetch Torres-Tupas / @T2TupasINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:10 AM October 16, 2016
EARLIER PHOTO of Vitaliano Aguirre II when Sen Santiago cited him with contempt of court during prosecution of CJ Corona in 2012. INQUIRER file photo
If President Duterte’s trademark sign is a closed fist, former President Benigno Aquino III an “L” sign and former President Fidel Ramos a “thumbs-up” gesture, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s signature pose is cupping his ears.
Aguirre caught the public’s attention after he was berated and cited for contempt by the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago during the impeachment proceedings against then Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012. Aguirre was a member of the prosecution, and the feisty senator went off the handle when they dropped five of the seven articles of impeachment.
Santiago branded Aguirre’s gesture an “intergalactic act of epal” but the man who would later become President Duterte’s chief legal enforcer in his antidrug war stood his ground. A contrite Aguirre later apologized to the senator.
Now, he has been dubbed the “master of fakery” by arch nemesis, Sen. Leila De Lima, who has denounced Aguirre’s recent attacks against her at a congressional inquiry.
Aguirre was born on Oct. 16, 1946, in the town of Mulanay, Quezon province, where his father was a former town mayor. At an early age, he showed signs of brilliance and was a consistent honor student, graduating on top of his class at Mulanay Elementary School.
He finished magna cum laude at San Beda College with a bachelor of arts degree in 1967. He studied law in the same school, where he would cross paths with Rodrigo Duterte from the southern city of Davao, later to become President.
Aguirre became the class valedictorian and cum laude of class 1971. He passed the bar examination with a grade of 85.25 percent that same year.
As a young lawyer, he joined young activists who fought the Marcos dictatorship. He went into hiding for five years after being charged with inciting to sedition until the case against him was dropped.
He later campaigned for the late President Corazon Aquino during the 1986 snap elections. In 2010, he supported the entire Liberal Party ticket of her son, former President Benigno Aquino III.
A seasoned lawyer with almost 40 years of experience under his belt, Aguirre represented Hubert Webb in the celebrated Vizconde massacre case. He also became the defense counsel of Supreme Court Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes in an administrative case.
His former clients include a venerable who’s who in local politics, from Sen. Panfilo Lacson and President Duterte to columnist Ramon Tulfo and Afgani V. Alonto, who was accused of plotting to assassinate former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Aguirre crossed paths with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV when he served as deputy counsel of the Feliciano Commission that conducted a probe on the Oakwood mutiny. Trillanes was formerly a junior Navy officer and the spokesperson of a group of young officers who took over the luxury apartment hotel in Makati demanding reforms at the corruption-laden Armed Forces.
But it was in 2012 that he burst onto the national consciousness as among the private prosecutors in the case against Corona, who became the first head of the judiciary impeached by the Senate for alleged corruption.
Aguirre said he and the rest of the Lex Talionis Fraternity pushed for President Duterte’s candidacy, and even donated their own monies to fund his campaign.
Days after the vote, he said President Duterte surprised him by joking he should hire more brilliant lawyers at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“What I did, I stood up, I thanked him, shook his hands and told him, ‘thank you, Mr. President,” Aguirre said laughing. “I never expected that he is serious in appointing me [as justice secretary].”
Aguirre said President Duterte told him to focus on illegal drugs, graft and corruption and heinous crimes, and file appropriate charges “no matter who gets hurt.”
“There should be no selective justice,” Aguirre said.
He said De Lima’s name was only incidental to the investigation on the proliferation of illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
He said even before he formally took office, he already interviewed former and current officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to determine the problems of the agency. BuCor is one of the many agencies under the DOJ, and to him the “dirtiest.”
Under the BuCor are seven national penitentiaries including the controversial NBP.
The NBP is the source of 75 percent of drug transactions in the country, according to the Philippine National Police.
“We are not just concentrating on De Lima. What we want is to clean up Bilibid,” Aguirre said this week.
Aguirre explained that during the course of the investigation, names of those remiss with their duties that led to the “booming” narcotics trade in prison naturally had to come out. Apart from De Lima, he blamed former BuCor Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu and former officer in charge Rafael Ragos for the expansion of the drug trade.
De Lima, who also graduated law at San Beda, is Duterte’s staunchest critic. The President, on the other hand, accused De Lima of receiving cash from drug lords to fund her successful campaign.
De Lima in turn accused the President and Aguirre of attacking her to avenge a Senate probe where one witness had directly implicated Mr. Duterte in vigilante killings when he was still a mayor. She has since been removed as head of the inquiry in the Senate led by Duterte’s allies.
Aguirre then appeared before a hearing at the Lower House where he trotted out several convicts who testified they gave millions in funds to De Lima, a move that he said was not endorsed by Mr. Duterte.
He also denied De Lima’s claim that witnesses, including the inmates who testified against her, were tortured, pressured or coerced, and the bank documents were falsified.
“I may be losing my hair but she [De Lima] is losing her mind,” Aguirre said. “I will never manufacture evidence. I have been practicing for so long, I have never and will never be part of any kind of manufacturing of evidence.”
He said he was hoping to file a case against De Lima by the year’s end.
He said the public probably thought he was just focusing on the Bilibid drug case, but in truth, the DOJ was brimming with cases but lacked the manpower to pursue them.
Aguirre said they have a shortfall of 500 prosecutors nationwide, stressing that only 42 percent of prosecutorial positions have been filled up so far. Currently, there are more than 10,000 backlog of cases.
To beef up the ranks, the justice chief said he was also pushing for a DOJ Academy, similar to the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJa).
“The DOJ will play a great part in the President’s effort to have a crime-free Philippines but great powers come with great responsibility,” Aguirre said. “We have to see to it that they believe in our prosecutors.”
“For justice to work, we have to work. For the people to believe, we have to see to it that they can believe in our prosecutors,” he said.
RELATED FROM MALAYA
Anti-De Lima convicts found applying for pardon October 19, 2016 BY WENDELL VIGILIA AND ASHZEL HACHERO
Engelberto Durano, Nonilo Arile, Jaime Patcho, Jojo Baligad, and Vicente Sy PHOTO ABS-CBN FILE
FIVE of 12 convicts who testified against Sen. Leila de Lima before the House committee on justice have applications for pardon pending at the Bureau of Pardons and Parole, an opposition lawmaker said yesterday.
In the weekly press briefing of the House opposition bloc, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said the public should know of the status of the convicts who may be “rewarded” by the Duterte administration for testifying against De Lima who is being accused of accepting drug money to bankroll her senatorial bid in the elections last May.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who presented the witnesses to the House, said he did not know about the applications and government is not considering pardoning them.
“I was never aware of their pending applications. Never brought to my attention but pardoning them was never considered,” he said.
Asked if he will recommend pardon or executive clemency, Aguirre said, “Don’t know yet. I will study.”
Aguirre has said government did not promise anything to the inmates in exchange for their testimonies about the illegal drugs trade at the national penitentiary.
Most of the witnesses testified after being granted legislative immunity by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Alejano identified the five convicts as Engelbert Durano, Nonilo Arile, Jaime Patio, Jojo Baligod, and Vicente Sy.
Alejano said BPP records showed Durano applied for executive clemency on Oct. 27, 2015, Arile on Jan. 25, 2011, and Patio last April 15. He said the status of the applications of Baligod and Sy are still being verified.
Alejano said he wrote to the BPP on October 11 and received a reply from executive director Reynaldo Bayan three days later.
The other convict-witnesses who appeared before the House justice committee but have not applied for pardon are Rodolfo Magleo, Herbert Colanggo, Noel Martinez, Froilan Trestiza, Hans Anton Tan, Jaybee Sebastian and Peter Co.
The justice committee looked into the proliferation of illegal drugs at the National Bilibid Prison while De Lima was justice secretary under the Aquino administration.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who is also with the opposition, said the applications for clemency or pardon “will be enhanced by their cooperation in giving their testimonies.”
“Ito ang posibleng ticket nila for clemency,” Lagman told the same press briefing, pointing out that the application for pardon is proof that De Lima is being persecuted by the administration.
Among others, the convicts testified about De Lima’s aides collecting money from proceeds of sales of illegal drugs at the national penitentiary and about her supposed relationship with Ronnie Dayan, her married former driver-bodyguard and alleged bagman.
Lagman said the witnesses who testified were all under the jurisdiction of the justice secretary because the Bureau of Corrections and the NBI are attached agencies of the Department of Justice.
“Kapag merong prosecution, pupunta sa Department of Justice. Ang masama pa nito, the secretary of justice is the alter ego of the President and the executive should not actively participate in the proceedings of a committee of Congress,” he said.
The BPP is also under the justice department. Its primary mandate is to receive regular recommendations for pardon and forward them to the Office of the President for the Chief Executive’s approval.
Also yesterday, the justice committee approved its report on its investigation into the NBP drug trade.
The panel chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali rejected the minority bloc’s proposal for the panel to recommend De Lima’s prosecution.
The panel adopted the 17-page committee report No. 14 on House Resolution No. 105 filed by Alvarez who has made it clear that the inquiry was undertaken only in aid of legislation and not to have De Lima prosecuted.
The committee report was voted upon and approved a day after the panel held an executive session to review its content line by line and to discuss the proposal of the minority led by Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez who wanted the panel to recommend the filing of charges against De Lima.
Umali refused to reveal all the contents of the committee report, especially its findings and recommendations, saying it can be disclosed only after it has been calendared for the plenary for sponsorship.
He said House rules prohibit the release of a committee report before it is calendared for sponsorship in the plenary.
Umali, however, said the report would include findings on how the illegal drugs trade flourished at the NBP and the involvement and accountabilities of NBP authorities.
The panel held four hearings and presented 22 witnesses, mostly convicted inmates who testified on how drug money allegedly reached De Lima.
Among the panel’s recommendations to the plenary is the restoration of death penalty, which is one of pieces of legislation that President Duterte wants Congress to approve.
Manifesting the minority bloc’s dissent, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said the panel should not do away with its power to recommend the prosecution of officials.
“For us, it is necessary to identify all those officials involved. A recommendation should be made against those accountable officials,” he told the committee.
He said officials of the Bureau of Corrections who were found to have connived with drug lords should be charged.
Garbin lamented that the recommendations for the prosecution of these individuals are “conspicuously absent” in the report.
“It is necessary to identify all those officials and personalities involved in the proliferation of drugs,” he said.
Garbin said, however, the minority and all those who voted against the approval of the committee report will file a “dissenting opinion.”
Morales won’t probe De Lima By: Vince F. Nonato / @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:13 AM October 18, 2016
Everything is just an allegation so far, says Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales when asked if shewill investigate Sen. Leila de Lima’s alleged links to drug trafficking activities at New Bilibid Prison when shewas then justice secretary. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO NO LEAD Everything is just an allegation so far, says Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales when asked if shewill investigate Sen. Leila de Lima’s alleged links to drug trafficking activities at New Bilibid Prison when shewas then justice secretary. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
“It’s not going to happen,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said on Monday when asked by reporters if her office would initiate its own investigation of Sen. Leila de Lima.
Morales cited a lack of firm leads establishing De Lima’s connection to the proliferation of illegal drugs at New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when the senator was justice secretary in the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
“Everything is just an allegation so far,” she said. “There is no lead that will prompt us to initiate an investigation.”
Morales also noted that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had already started its probe of the two criminal complaints filed separately by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on Tuesday and former National Bureau of Investigation deputy directors Ruel Lasala and Reynaldo Esmeralda on Thursday.
De Lima and other DOJ officials who served with her were accused of drug trafficking.
The DOJ has convened an investigative panel composed of five prosecutors to look into the two complaints.
“The DOJ should be given the opportunity to conduct a fact-finding investigation,” she said. “When the case comes to us, and if I believe the fact-finding investigation is exhaustive enough to merit our preliminary investigation if there is a crime committed, then we’ll go through it.”
Normally, gathering evidence is done before the complaint is forwarded for preliminary investigation. The respondent is given the chance to counter the complaint before the state prosecutor determines whether there is probable cause for indictment, subject to the approval of the Ombudsman.
One such case that can be tackled by the Office of the Ombudsman is the complaint filed by Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, police chief of Albuera, Leyte province. In his complaint last week, Espenido claimed that De Lima received payoffs from suspected Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, who was arrested on Monday.
Morales, however, said the complaint is yet to be forwarded by her Visayas office. “It has not reached us,” she said.
In the House of Representatives, members of the justice committee, which conducted an inquiry on drug trafficking at NBP, appeared to be at loggerheads on whether their report should include a recommendation to prosecute De Lima. The panel met behind closed doors on Monday, and will resume deliberations today.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, the committee chair, said at the weekend that it was unlikely the panel would propose the filing of criminal charges against De Lima, pointing out the hearing was in aid of legislation.
Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque said in a press conference on Monday he disagreed with this position, stressing that De Lima “should be held liable for benefiting from the drug trade… and for coddling drug lords.”
Convicted felons said they contributed to De Lima’s senatorial campaign in May in exchange for her protection. She has denied wrongdoing.
Roque said these acts were in violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“I understand why the majority wants to desist from such a recommendation because it wants to avoid the impression that the investigation was a witch-hunt against Senator De Lima. However, we are elected legislators and we took an oath to uphold the laws of the land. I believe it is incumbent upon the members of Congress to recommend the filing of criminal charges if we believe that our laws have been violated,” said Roque, a member of the committee.
Roque said the Senate investigation of the P728-million fertilizer scam in 2004 recommended the filing of charges against then Agriculture Secretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante. —WITH A REPORT FROM NIKKO DIZON
ALSO FROM ABS-CBN
De Lima to 'naive' Duterte: Stop making yourself enemy of the world ABS-CBN News
Posted at Oct 21 2016 06:46 PM
MANILA- Senator Leila De Lima questioned the timing of President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement of "separation" from the United States on Friday, calling her top critic "naive" and "delusional."
De Lima said she couldn't help but think why the President would announce his foreign policy during a state visit and that probing questions should be asked "in light of these earth-shaking policy overhaul."
Duterte, in China for a state visit, announced his "separation" from the US on Thursday following a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
READ: While in China, Duterte announces 'separation' from US
"It's one thing to keep your Cabinet members in the dark which is deeply troubling in itself but it's a whole level of betrayal to keep that from the Filipino people, and to announce it for the first time in front of foreigners," she said.
She added that Duterte is only proving that he is a "naive child" with his decisions on foreign policy.
"President Duterte has a really inflated, if not delusional, view of himself as a strongman at the level of China and Russia's leadership.
But he's only proving that he's a naïve child, looking at the world through distorted lenses when it comes to a lot of things, including foreign policy absolutely no concept or care for the consequences of his actions," she said.
Duterte also announced on Thursday that he has "realigned" himself to the ideological flow of China and that "there are three of us against the world - China, Philippines and Russia."
READ: Duterte: It's Russia, China, PH 'against the world'
The senator also reiterated the words of Senator Richard Gordon, calling Duterte's statements as a "material concealment" from Filipinos.
"Obviously, this is not what they signed up for when they cast their vote last May 2016, if we go by the huge disparity between the trust rating that the US garnered vs. China, where Filipinos themselves said that they trust the US most and China least!" she said.
READ: SWS: 55 pct of Pinoys have little trust in China
De Lima also urged the public to look at the reality of issues and not "the romantic picture that our star-struck and starry-eyed President wants to see" when it comes to dealing with China and Russia.
"I'm not saying that China or Russia is not capable of respecting our people's human rights, but we have to look at facts and reality.
If their own people have limited expectations about respect for their human rights, labor law protections and, in general, freedom from violence from their own government, palagay mo ba tayong mga Pilipino can expect more?" De Lima asked.
De Lima compared the country's foreign policy to illegal recruiters, saying that "if it's too easy and if it sounds too good to be true," then the situation may lead to negative consequences.
"Oo nga siguro, mas mahirap makakuha ng visa sa mga bansang katulad ng US, pero iyon ay dahil may kaakibat na pangakong mas magandang buhay, hindi pamumuhay na ikaw ay ituturing na basura o less than human," she said.
(Yes, maybe it is harder to acquire visas from countries like the US but that is because it comes with a promise of a better life and not a life where you are treated as trash or less than human.)
STOP MAKING ENEMIES
De Lima also asked President Duterte if he positions himself as a single third world country and whether he thinks China and Russia would provide assistance when Filipino overseas workers are in trouble.
READ: Duterte heads home from China with $24 billion deals
"Palagay mo kaya mo mag-isa? Palagay mo tutulungan ka lagi ng China at Russia? Palagay mo they are even in a position to help you under most circumstances?" she asked.
(Do you think you can do it alone? Do you think China and Russia will help you? Do you think they are in a position to help you under most circumstances?)
She adds: "If you isolate yourself from the world, it isn't you who suffers, Mr. President, it is the Filipino people. By all means, make friends! But stop making yourself the enemy of the world!"
READ: Duterte shift to China 'incomprehensible, unwise': Del Rosario
'ACTING ON BITTERNESS'
De Lima also criticized Duterte for not standing by the constitution and for acting on his own "bitterness" after the President revealed on Wednesday that he was denied a US visa in the past.
"Biruin mo, na-deny ka lang ng US visa noon, hindi ka lang naka-move on, itinanim mo pa ang bitterness mo nang ilang taon hanggang sa maging Presidente ka at magamit mo ang posisyon mo para gumanti sa pakiramdam mo ay atraso sa'yo," the senator said.
(Imagine, you were just denied a US visa before and you weren't able to move on so you carried your bitterness for years until you become President and use your position to avenge your feelings which you feel are sins against you.)
De Lima, who is under fire for allegedly being linked to the illegal drug trade in the Bilibid, said the situation sounds "painfully and personally familiar," apparently referring to Duterte's tirades against her.
"It's saddening, frightening and highly incensing that this President does not have a true servant-leader's capacity to put the interests of the people ahead of his own bitterness," she said.
READ: PH might lose 'tremendous' investments from US, former envoy Cuisa warns
House: Leila accountable for NBP’s drugs rise Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 19 October 2016 00:00 By Gerry Baldo and Benjamin B. Pulta
Aguirre denies pardon for convicts
The House committee on justice yesterday unanimously approved its committee report finding then Justice Secretary now Sen. Leila de Lima accountable for the proliferation of the illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
The justice panel headed by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali said almost all the witnesses had testified to de Lima’s involvement in the drug trade.
The panel, however, said that the determination of probable cause to support the filing of appropriate charges against her is the function of the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Aside from de Lima, the panel also reported the involvement of Ronnie Dayan, the senator’s former driver, in the drug trade as testified to by the witnesses. The panel, however, admitted that it failed to establish whether Dayan was acting on orders of de Lima as he failed to appear before the panel. A warrant of arrest wassaid to have been issued against Dayan, who is also a subject of a lookout order.
APPLICATIONS FOR CLEMENCY, PAROLE
Some, if not all of the convicts who testified before the House of Representatives’ committee investigating the alleged drug links of Senator de Lima are alleged to have pending applications for clemency or parole.
The senator, who seems to be in possession of a copy of the letter from the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP), said it would appear that the applications of some, if not all, were already pending even before they testified in the lower house.
However, she failed to mention that the pardon and parole applications were sought during the term of then president, Noynoy Aquino and not under the Rody Duterte administration.
But she claimed: “With that context in mind, there doesn’t seem to be anything necessarily suspicious about their applications. I certainly hope that the possible grant of these applications for executive clemency aren’t being peddled as a form of ‘bayad-utang’ reward for a debt) or incentive for testifying against me. If that should turn out to be the case, though, I doubt anyone would be surprised, I certainly am not,” De Lima said.
A number of those who stood as “witnesses” against de Lima were high-profile inmates convicted of drug trafficking, kidnapping and other serious offenses.
In the information that reached the senator, the convicted felons are either applying or are being considered for grant of executive clemency, which appears to be spinned by de Lima.
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano earier said he recently wrote the Board of Pardons and Parole to inquire about any pending applications for pardon or executive clemency from any of the convicts who testified at the House’ inquiry.
He said that the BPP told him that Engelbert Durano, Jaime Patio, Jojo Baligad, Nonilo Arile and Vicente Sy have pending applications.
A copy of the BPP’s response to Alejano showed that Durano and Arile’s “carpeta” or their inmate records were requested on October 27, 2015, and January 25, 2011 respectively, while that of Patio was returned to the Bureau of Corrections last April 15, 2015.
In a bid to mislead the people, de Lima said, “after everything we’ve seen and heard, what would be so surprising about executive clemency being exchanged for false testimonies against me? I, whom the President apparently hates with a vengeance? I would not be surprised if ‘immunity’ was just the down-payment for telling lies under oath, and participating in such a kangaroo probe revolving around my alleged sex life and the absolutely absurd claim that I am involved in the drug trade,” she said.
“But the Office of the President would have to be collectively insane to actually go through with it. It can’t be that stupid. It can’t possibly think that the Filipino people wouldn’t recognize a devil’s bargain or a meeting of criminal minds when they see it,” De Lima added.
No pardon forthcoming—Aguirre
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre yesterday denied a deal setting the convict-witnesses free.
No pardon is forthcoming for the convicts tapped by the House in its legislative inquiry into the alleged drug links between drug lords serving time in the national penitentiary and the lady senator.
Speaking to newsmen, Aguirre denied a deal had been reached for leniency in favor of the prisoners in exchange for the damning testimony against the opposition lawmaker whom Malacañang accuses of having received hush money and sexual favors from prisoners when she was still secretary of justice.
This developed as Aguirre reported a gunman attacked his car yesterday. Aguirre’s security, Senior Inspector Ricaredo Sarmiento Marasigan said the attack happened while he was driving.
“He only learned that the vehicle was shot when he arrived at my house. He said the left headlight was damaged,” Aguirre .
The Justice Chief said Marasigan has already reported the incident to the police.
Aguirre who is currently in Cagayan De Oro for a speaking engagement denied allegations of the minority members of the House of Representatives that the testimonies of high profile inmates against Senator de Lima is their ‘ticket to freedom’ considering that they have pending applications for pardon or executive clemency.
“Pardoning them was never considered,” Aguirre said in a text message.
“I was never aware of their pending applications. Never brought to my attention,” Aguirre said.
But asked if he will recommend their pardon or executive clemency, Aguirre said he will have to study it first.
“Don’t know yet. I will study this,” he added.
The BPP is under the control and supervision of the Secretary of Justice and the Secretary in turn is under the control and supervision of the President.
Executive clemency can be granted by the President upon the recommendation of the BPP to grant convicts pardons, commute their sentences, or defer the implementation of their sentences.
The House panel voted unanimously although the panel did not recommend the filing of charges vs. Senator de Lima and other New Bilibid Prison authorities allegedly involved in the proliferation of the drug trade in the Bilibid.
Only Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin voted against the approval of the committee report.
After the approval of the committee findings on the Bilibid drug trade, the panel also agreed to further investigate the Bilbid riot incident last September 29 that killed inmate and drug dealer Tony Co, the last minute exclusion of the PNP-CIDG unit in the Bilibid raid in Decmeber 2014 as testified by Gen. Benjie Magalong and the pending arrest of Dayan—de Lima’s former driver who is accused by the inmates of collecting drug money for de Lima.
The investigation will be handled by the House justice sub committee on prison reforms which is chaired by Osamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal.
Erwin, possible witness vs Leila still in UAE
Philippine authorities have yet to gain custody of suspected drug lord Rolando EspinosaJr., alias Kerwin, who was captured Monday in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
At a press briefing in Camp Crame yesterday morning, Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, spokesman of the Philippine National Police, said that the three-man PNP team sent to Abu Dhabi has limited access to Espinosa.
Carlos said that Espinosa was transferred from the custody of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of Abu Dhabi police to the Ministry of Interior.
“The custody of Kerwin Espinosa is still with the Abu Dhabi authorities…now because they know that Kerwin Espinosa is a high value target, his custody was transferred from the CID of the Abu Dhabi police. He is now in the custody of the Ministry of Interior,” said Carlos.
“The Ministry of Interior is now looking if Kerwin violated any of the UAE law while staying there,” he added.
If Kerwin is found to have broken UAE law, Carlos said that his repatriation to Manila would be delayed.
According to Carlos, the Philippine Embassy to UAE is working closely with their counterparts there to gain access to Espinosa and start questioning him.
Carlos said that the PNP request to have Espinosa photographed while being processed still needs clearance, citing information relayed to him by a member of the three-man PNP team sent to Abu Dhabi.
Based on initial information, Carlos said that Espinosa went to Abu Dhabi from Hong Kong.
“We want to see the travel documents and passport used so that these will be used as evidence,” said Carlos.
Possible drug transaction risks delay
Philippine Ambassador to United Arab Emirates has expressed fears that if current investigation on Kerwin Espinosa’s case in Abu Dhabi results in findings that he’s been involved in any illegal transaction or drug related activities while in hiding, he might also be subject to charges by the country.
After three months of manhunt, the alleged drug lord of Eastern Visayas was nabbed in Abu Dhabi on Monday after a tip-off from an overseas Filipino worker.
Sought to give information on reports saying local authorities would also be investigating if Espinosa did have any suspicious drug activity within Abu Dhabi, Ambassador to UAE Constancio Vingno, Jr. said, “this is one of those that the police are looking at.”
However, should findings prove his involvement in illegal transaction in Abu Dhabi, it will make the situation “quite complicated” said Vingno in a television interview.
“If we find out that he’s also involved or did or had in illegal drug transaction here in the UAE, case charges will be filed against him,” the ambassador added. With this as basis, it will be much more difficult to bring him home.
“Our immediate goal is to have him immediately repatriated back to the Philippines,” said Vingno.
Now subject to investigation of the Criminal Investigation Division of Abu Dhabi Police, they’re currently trying to ascertain with whom Espinosa was in contact during his stay Abu Dhabi.
“We really don’t know whether they know Kerwin Espinosa, probably it’s just somebody looking for a place to stay and someone must’ve offer a place, that we don’t know, so that’s up for the Abu Dhabi police to determine,” Vingno pointed out.
According to him, Espinosa traveled to Dubai sometime in third week of September 23 or 24.
“He traveled backdoor probably in Palawan then in KL (Kuala Lumpur) then in Hong Kong where he got the visa and there from Hong Kong he proceeded to Dubai and found his way to Abu Dhabi where his friends are,” Vingno has narrated.
He also disclosed that Espinosa was staying at a flat just 20 to 30 minutes away from the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
On the part of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said that since he’s being charged here in the country, “I think he’ll be given the chance to defend himself here in the Philippines.” With Angie M, Rosales, Mario J. Mallari and Joyce Ann Rocamora
RELATED FROM PHILSTAR
DOJ to study pardon for 5 witnesses vs De Lima By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 19, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) will consider the grant of pardon or executive clemency to the five inmates who testified against Sen. Leila de Lima in the House of Representatives’ inquiry on the proliferation of the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said he would look into the applications for pardon filed with the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) by NBP inmates Engelbert Durano, Jaime Patio, Jojo Baligad, Nonilo Arile and Vicente Sy.
“I don’t know yet (if we will recommend the approval of the pardon to the President). I will study it first,” he said in a text message.
Aguirre quickly denied insinuations by administration critics that the five witnesses implicated De Lima in the NBP drug trade in exchange for clemency.
“Pardoning them was never considered,” Aguirre stressed, reiterating that the testimonies of the witnesses in the House probe were voluntary.
“I was never aware of their pending applications for pardon. It was never brought to my attention,” he added.
The DOJ chief issued the statement in response to the reported statement of Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano that the testimonies of the five inmates could be in exchange for approval of their applications for pardon with the BPP.
Alejano said he has confirmed with the BPP that five of the 12 inmates who testified against De Lima have pending applications for pardon or executive clemency.
He said the records of Durano and Arile were requested on Oct. 27, 2015 and Jan. 25, 2011, respectively, while that of Patio was returned to the Bureau of Corrections on April 15, 2015.
Meanwhile, the status of applications of both Baligad and Sy is for verification of other pending cases.
Aguirre repeatedly said the government did not promise anything to the inmates when they decided to tag De Lima, high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian and other personalities in the NBP drug trade.
Alejano told a news conference at the House of Representatives that the public should be aware of the status of these convicted criminals who after all may be “rewarded” for implicating former justice secretary De Lima and eventually be released by President Duterte through pardon or parole.
Alejano’s colleague in the independent House minority bloc, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, also warned the public that the BPP application of these convicts might be “enhanced” and the executive clemency of Duterte their “ticket” to freedom.
The other inmate-witnesses who have not applied with BPP yet were Rodolfo Magleo, Herbert Colanggo, Noel Martinez, Froilan Trestiza, Hans Anton Tan, Sebastian and Peter Co.
The BPP is under the Department of Justice whose mandate, in part, is to receive regular recommendations – especially during Christmas and New Year – from the agency and forward them to the Office of the President for approval.
De Lima on House justice body report: A sham conclusion By: Maila Ager / @MAgerINQ
INQUIRER.net / 03:44 PM October 19, 2016
Senator Leila de Lima speaks at a mass for Option for Life at the CBCP Chapel in Manila on Monday, October 10, 2016 in celebration of the World Day Against Death Penalty. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE/Philippine Daily Inquirer
A “sham” conclusion.
This was how Senator Leila de Lima described on Wednesday the findings of the House of Representatives committee on justice that all pieces of evidence pointed to her alleged involvement in the proliferation of the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison when she was still Justice Secretary.
“Meaning, the lies are sufficient? What evidence are they talking about?” De Lima said when told that the panel supposedly found sufficient evidence against her.
She said the convicted felons, who testified against her in the House inquiry, were “lying,” and “perjured” witnesses.
“And when they say that okay we’re not recommending the prosecution of Senator de Lima, we’re just asking na lang the DOJ (Department of Justice) to undertake further investigation, that means they are practically telling the DOJ to invent pa more, invent pa more lies,” the senator.
“If they believe that the evidence are sufficient, then they should recommend for my prosecution so ano yan (what is that)?” she said.
While saying that all the evidence pointed to De Lima’s involvement and possible accountability in the illegal drug trade, the House panel decided to just leave it up to the DOJ or the Ombudsman to determine the appropriate charges that should be filed against her.
READ: House justice body: Bilibid drugs flourished under De Lima’s watch
The senator said this decision of the panel only showed that there was no evidence against her.
“Now they are saying there is sufficient evidence but they are not recommending prosecution. So that’s ironic, that’s a self contradictory,” De Lima said.
“It’s a sham conclusion,” she added. RAM
RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD
House divided over Leila’s fate: Minority demands filing of criminal raps posted October 18, 2016 at 12:01 am by Christine F. Herrera and Maricel V. Cruz
Senator Leila de Lima
THE House committee on justice on Monday remained divided over whether there was enough evidence to recommend charges be filed against Senator Leila de Lima for her alleged role in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison when she was Justice secretary.
The disagreement among members of the panel, chaired by Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, meant they were unable to approve the committee report on their findings after four congressional hearings.
During the day-long executive session, the committee failed to agree on De Lima’s culpability, prompting Umali to suspend the closed-door meeting. Members belonging to the House minority bloc vowed to urge the plenary to overturn the panel’s position if they did not recommend filing criminal charges against De Lima.
Umali said the executive session would continue Tuesday so the committee members could vote on the report and send it on to the plenary for approval.
“We dissented. We reject the panel’s position. We believe there is enough evidence to warrant the recommendation of the filing of criminal charges against De Lima and her cohorts,” said House Deputy Minority Leader Danilo Suarez. “We will bring it to the plenary that the House of Representatives recommend the filing of criminal charges against De Lima and those responsible behind the proliferation of illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.”
“I dissent from the proposed justice committee report on the investigation of the proliferation of illegal drugs in the NBP. I believe that the committee should include a recommendation [to file] criminal charges against Senator Leila de Lima,” said House Deputy Minority Leader Harry Roque.
The two opposition lawmakers also said it was clear that laws had been violated.
NO FULL-BLOWN INVESTIGATION
But Umali said that the panel, upon the advice of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, would not recommend the filing of charges against De Lima because the panel did not conduct a full-blown investigation.
De Lima’s allies in the House, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, said this decision showed that the committee had a weak case against the senator.
On the other hand, Umali argued it was not the panel’s function to determine De Lima’s guilt.
He added that there were other accomplices, other culpable government employees like the jail guards that the panel no longer covered in its probe.
“So, we would rather that [the Justice Department] do a complete preliminary investigation so they can charge everyone, rather than us telling them that you charge this [person] and then forget about the others. So it is doing complete staff work. Congress has no capability, we do not have the NBI, we do not have the CIDG, we do not have intelligence people to dig deeper into the involvement of any and all of those who may have violated the laws of the country. So we would rather let our co-equal bodies or co-equal branches of government do their job,” Umali said.
Monday’s meeting was suspended after several lawmakers and members of the committee insisted that the panel recommend charges against De Lima.
Suarez said his group will issue a dissenting opinion, and expressed disappointment at the panel’s unwillingness to recommend criminal charges.
“Why the committee is evading recommendation to pursue criminal prosecution against Senator De Lima? All testimonies are pointing to her and now the committee is quiet on her culpability,” Suarez said.
“The minority bloc will issue a dissenting opinion. We cannot afford a report like this,” Suarez said.
The House justice panel held almost seven-hour executive session to discuss the committee report. It has scheduled voting on the report Tuesday morning.
Umali, a Liberal Party (LP) stalwart, denied that the voting did not push through simply because of pressures exerted by Suarez’s group.
“That is not true [Suarez’s group opposition]. We are just tired and the committee report needs some refinements. That is why we decided to reset the voting tomorrow (Tuesday) after discussing the report in an executive session,” said Umali.
Umali earlier said his panel would not recommend the filing of criminal charges against De Lima, also an LP member.
“We are not judges and we are not all lawyers in the committee and this is a collective decision of the committee, not just mine decision,” said Umali.
Umali said, “Legislative measures that are expected of us because this is a congressional inquiry in aid of legislation.”
“...The matter of prosecution is really an executive function... And since the case has already been filed, what is there for us to recommend has been filed already,” Umali said.
De Lima said Monday that if the panel does not recommend criminal charges against her, then its real objective in holding hearings was to villify her.
But De Lima also said it was difficult to comment on the case at this point because no committee report has been approved.
“Of course, it’s good,” she said when asked about the possibility that the committee report would not include a recommendation that she be charged.
She said the focus of the House investigation was not the problems of the state penitentiary, but on her.
“But what’s the whole point of the inquiry--only to shame me,” she said.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, meanwhile, said her office is not inclined to conduct an investigation on its own into allegations of De Lima’s involvement in the drug trade in the NBP.
'NOT GOING TO HAPPEN' - OMBUDSMAN
“It is not going to happen,” she said. “Because all [these] are just allegations. There is actually no lead yet that would prompt us to initiate our investigation,” she added.
She said, however, that the Ombudsman in the Visayas has received a complaint filed against De Lima for allegedly receiving drug money from Kerwin Espinosa, a suspected drug lord.
Morales said Espinido’s complaint will be submitted to the Ombudsman central office after a fact-finding investigation is completed by the Ombudsman in the Visayas.
Earlier, Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption filed a criminal complaint with the Justice Department against De Lima for violating anti-drug laws.
Morales said she would welcome it if the Justice Department sought the Ombudsman’s help to step into the complaint of the VACC.
“If it’s necessary and if they (DOJ) believe there is reason to conduct further investigation or for us to conduct a preliminary investigation, then the case will come to us,” she said.
“When the case comes to us and if we believe the fact-finding investigation is exhaustive enough to merit our preliminary investigation if there is any crime committed, then we will follow through with it,” Morales said. With Rio N. Araja
RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER
De Lima eyes further hearings on extra-judicial killings By: Tarra Quismundo / @TarraINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:54 AM October 19, 2016
Senator Leila De Lima. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES
Sen. Leila de Lima on Tuesday emphasized the need for further hearings on the spate of drug-related killings under President Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, saying several witnesses have yet to testify and new developments have not been taken into account.
De Lima reiterated that it was premature for Sen. Richard Gordon to terminate the proceedings and declare that President Duterte’s link to the deaths was not established, and that the existence of the notorious Davao Death Squad was not proven.
“If it were up to me, I would seek a few more hearings,” she told reporters.
“It was premature to terminate the proceedings, and it is even more premature to say there’s no evidence that the killings are state-sponsored, because several aspects could still be looked into,” she said.
Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, readily shut the door, responding to reporters: “No! Do they have another platform?”
The senator, who took De Lima’s place at the committee’s helm on Sept. 19 when she was ousted for alleged “bias” in the inquiry, had ended the hearings last week and said a committee report was forthcoming this week.
But De Lima said several witnesses supposed to have been presented during the inquiry—those who had filed complaints against authorities before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for the slay of their loved ones—were not heard during the six-session proceedings.
She also cited the recent case of police officers tagged in the slay of a regional chair of a crime watch group in Oriental Mindoro, and media reports on “alleged secret death squads.”
“Have we really evaluated and thoroughly scrutinized the written submissions from the PNP like the spot reports, Soco (Scene of the Crime Operatives) reports? We haven’t, right? So how can we have such a conclusion at this point that these killings are not state sponsored?” she said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson agreed with De Lima that the CHR witnesses should have been given a chance to say their piece.
PHILNEWS FLASHBACK NEWS REPORT JUNBE 2016
The former hubby: Also the alleged Leila de Lima and Cesar Mancao’s Relationship Status By Ed Umbao - June 1, 201606619 Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter
Leila de Lima
Former Justice Secretary and newly-elected senator Leila de Lima denies any involvement with fugitive cop Cesar Mancao particularly in terms of her relationship status. In an interview with Manila Times, Leila de Lima refused to comment on allegations that she has an illicit affair with Cesar Mancao, a former police officer.
The issue of the real status of Leila de Lima and Cesar Mancao’s relationship came out when Sandra Cam, a senatorial candidate who lost during the 2016 elections bared to the media that she got some video evidence proving her claimed that the former Justice Secretary and the fugitive cop was involved in a romantic relationship.
The 56-year-old Sen. Leila de Lima in an earlier interview with ABS-CBN noted that she is “single by judicial decree of annulment” from her former husband.
Before de Lima was appointed as the Justice Secretary under the administration of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III, the veteran lawyer worked as Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights under the Arroyo administration.
The newly-elected senator De Lima has two sons namely Israel and Vincent Joshua, with husband Plaridel Bohol. Her marriage to Bohol was annulled, so she is indeed single by judicial decree of annulment.
Leila de Lima is also related to Julie de Lima, the wife of Jose Maria Sison, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Cesar Mancao, is a fugitive police officer who was allegedly involved alongside Michael Ray Aquino in a case filed against them involving the murder of Bobby Dacer, a former public relations official for Joseph Estrada.
Last November 2008, Cesar Mancao together with Aquino and Dumlao were extradited by the US Department of Justice after a request from the Philippine government.
In June 2009, Cesar Mancao returned to the country to face the charges and become a state witness against the mastermind behind the case involving Dacer and Corbito.
Cesar Mancao escaped from the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in 2013 following an order for him to be transferred to the Manila City Jail.
In an interview with ABS-CBN, he revealed that he is ready to surrender anytime.
ALSO THE PHILIPPINES TODAY BLOG
Everything You Need To Know About Leila De Lima Gilbert Government
leila de lima Image Credit: Kickerdaily.com
Leila De Lima was Noy Aquino's Secretary of Justice of the Philippines. (She is now a Senator).
She is presently in the news allegedly meddling with the internal affairs of the powerful “Iglesia Ni Cristo” church.
How well do you know her?
For a start, Secretary Leila De lima’s full name is Leila Magistrado de Lima. She was born on August 27, 1959 in Iriga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines. She is the eldest daughter of the former Philippine COMELEC Commissioner Vicente de Lima and Norma Magistrado.
She has 2 sons named Israel and Vincent Joshua. She has 2 grand children. Secretary De Lima’s civil status is vague. Her marriage is reported annulled a long time ago.
PLARIDEL BOHOL: De Lima’s ex-hubby accompanied Napoles to NBI – Esmeralda March 27, 2014 | Politics & Government By MARK MERUEÑAS GMA News --The former husband of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Plaridel Bohol accompanied pork barrel scam suspect Janet Lim-Napoles when she visited the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters prior to her surrender last year. This was according to dismissed NBI deputy director Reynaldo Esmeralda, who told reporters that Napoles was accompanied by De Lima’s erstwhile husband, lawyer Plaridel Bohol, and two other lawyers, including Freddie Villamor, when she met with then-NBI director Nonnatus Rojas. GLOBAL BALITA BLOG
She was formerly married to Plaridel Bohol (Source:Rappler and FilipinoScribe).
Education She is an alumnae of San Beda College where she studied from 1981 until 1985. She was the class salutatorian when she graduated from the San Beda college of law in 1985.
She landed 8th place in the 1985 Philippine Bar Examination. The Bar Exam is given once a year. The Examination is held every November in the University of Santo Tomas.
Prior to law school, Leila De Lima attended De La Salle University where she obtained her Bachelors degree with major History and Political science.
She took her elementary and high school education at La Consolacion College where she graduated Valedictorian or 1st in her class.
Work Before her appointment as Secretary of Justice on June 2010, Leila De Lima was the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) from 2008 until 2010.
Prior to the above high-profile positions, Secretary Leila De Lima worked in the following offices and school :
•Partner, De Lima Law Firm (1998–2008)
•Junior Partner, Roco, Buñag, Kapunan and Migallos from 1995
until June 1998
•Clerk/Secretary, House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
from 1993 until 1995
•Junior Associate, Jardeleza Law Offices from 1991 until 1992
•Junior Associate, Jardeleza Sobreviñas Diaz Hayudini and Bodegon
Law Offices from 1989 until 1991)
•Legal Staff, Supreme Court Associate Justice Isagani A. Cruz
from 1986 until 1989
•Professor, San Beda College of Law (from 1986 until 1994 and a
again from 2006 until 2007
Awards and Distinctions
•Madame Helen D. de los Santos Memorial Medallion of Honor and
Scroll of Commendation (2012)
•Most Outstanding Bedan Alumna (2011)
•Rokyaw Ibalnong Bikol Achievement Awardee in the field of
Government Service (2011)
•Gawad Justice Felix Angelo Bautista Awardee in recognition of
services and achievements in the field of Criminal Justice (2011)
•2nd Orgullo Kan Bikol Awards for Government Service (2011)
•Most Outstanding Bedan Alumna (2010)
•Gawad Lingkod Masa Awardee (2010)
•Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair for Public Service
and Governance (2010)
•Excellent Public Servant Award, Defender of People’s Rights,
“Agent of Change” Awardee (2010)
•GMANews TV’s Public Servant of the Year (2009)
•Philippine Quality Service Award of Excellence (2009)
•Sumagang Award for Outstanding Achievements in Government
•3rd Bayi Citation (2009)
•Raul S. Roco Award for Public Service Excellence (2009)
•Urban Poor Person of the Year Award (2008
Despite the objections and protests of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, substantial number of people are urging her to continue the investigation into the alleged abductions of ministers of the said powerful church.
Leila De Lima is a bonafide member of the ruling Liberal party where the incumbent President belong.
She is being rumored to be prepping for a senatorial bid but has repeatedly said she has no plans for 2016 yet.
She said she is still awaiting for invitation from the ruling Liberal Party to join next year’s elections.
CONTINUE >> TO NEXT HEADLINE PAGE
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
EMAIL: PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
© Copyright, 2016 All rights reserved
BACK TO PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE