PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org



HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

AGUIRRE HURDLES TRILLANES, GETS CA APPOINTMENT
[SENATE PROBE: P100-M payoff bared Sombero, Lam’s interpreter tells BI execs demanded payoff for release of 1,300 casino workers]
[RELATED: Sombero - ‘P50-M payoff for release of arrested Chinese employees of Jack Lam’]


FEBRUARY 15 -Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has been confirmed by the powerful Commission on Appointments despite opposition from Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. In this photo, Aguirre attends the confirmation hearing at the Philippine Senate on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Sen. Lacson's office/Released The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed on Wednesday the ad interim appointment confirmation of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II despite the opposition of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. The confirmation came after a panel of the recommended the confirmation of President Rodrigo Duterte's choice to lead the justice portfolio. No member of the powerful commission objected to Sen. Loren Legarda's move to have Aguirre confirmed. Legarda is the chairperson of the CA's committee on justice and judicial bar and council which tackled Aguirre's appointment. Trillanes, one of Aguirre's harshest critics at the CA, described the appointment as a political decision. READ MORE...SENATE PROBE  P100-M payoff bared Sombero, Lam’s interpreter tell Senate BI execs demanded amount in exchange for release of 1,300 casino workers...RELATED, Sombero: ‘P50-M payoff for release of arrested Chinese employees of Jack Lam’...

ALSO: House Minority Leader Roque slaps De Lima with 4th ethics suit
[RELATED: DOJ files 3 cases versus de Lima]
[RELATED(2) Aguirre shrugs off Leila fears amid likely arrest]


FEBRUARY 16 -
The problems faced by Sen. Leila de Lima just keep on piling up as House Deputy Minority Leader and Kabayan partylist Rep. Harry Roque Jr. yesterday filed an ethics complaint against the neophyte law-maker for allegedly conspiring to have him ousted from his seat in the lower chamber. Roque in a complaint filed before the Senate ethics committee accused de Lima of conspiring with his partymate Rep. Ron Salo to hide their “involvement in the illicit drug activities in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and to stop me from digging deeper into their criminal activities there.”
He said de Lima also deceived the public about her relationship and criminal conspiracy with Ronnie Dayan, her former security aide and alleged drug money bagman.According to him, what led him to file a complaint was a personal reason and that he did not consult with the Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez before filing the complaint. READ MORE...RELATED, DOJ files 3 cases versus de Lima... RELATED(2), Aguirre shrugs off Leila fears amid likely arrest....

ALSO: De Lima lashes at what she calls the Duterte's 'vindictive policy'
[RELATED: De Lima: SolGen move on Napoles case 'suspicious']
[RELATED(2):
De Lima fears for safety if jailed]



FEBRUARY 18 -Senator Leila de Lima
SENATOR Leila de Lima on Friday said she has long prepared herself to be the first political prisoner under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. De Lima said this was so because the criminal charges filed against her were politically motivated, and aimed at silencing her vocal opposition to the administration’s support of extrajudicial killings in its war on illegal drugs. “Perhaps my looming imprisonment based on false charges filed against me by the DoJ, while Janet Lim Napoles’s release is being supported by the Office of the Solicitor General, is the wakeup call that our country needs.” “Change has, indeed, come, and it has come to devour our sense of justice and morality—where right is turned to wrong, and wrong is made right,” she added. If the loss of her freedom is the price she has to pay for standing up against the butchery of the Duterte regime, De Lima said it is a price she is willing to pay. “But they are mistaken if they think my fight ends here. It has only begun,” she said. De Lima said her ordeal was the result of the kind of vindictive politics that she has come to expect from the Duterte administration. READ MORE...RELATED, De Lima: SolGen move on Napoles case 'suspicious'...RELATED(2) Groups back De Lima amid reported threat to arrest her...

ALSO BREAKING: Senate hands off on de Lima arrest; No warrant while in session - Koko
[RELATED: Duterte to De Lima on drug cases: Face the music]


FEBRUARY 20, MONDAY -NO WARRANT WHILE IN SESSION — KOKO The Senate will not stand in the way of the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima who is facing three counts of drug trafficking charges the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed with the Muntinlupa regional trial court (RTC), Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel said. Arresting officers cannot be prevented from serving the warrant, in the event that such order is issued by the courts, against de Lima, since the case involves drug trafficking which is no longer covered by immunity from arrest provided for lawmakers under the Constitution, as it involves a non-bailable offense, Pimentel added. Arresting officers, however, cannot serve the warrant of arrest on her while the Senate plenary session or any proceedings in the upper chamber is ongoing, Pimentel said. “If they disrupt the (Senate) proceedings, they will be the ones committing a crime. Even a legislative session of a local (government) council can’t be disrupted or disturbed (under the Constitution),” Pimentel stressed.The senator said it’s also unlikely for them to come up and pass a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on the need to ensure the safety of De Lima in jail. READ MORE... RELATED. Duterte to De Lima on drug cases: Face the music...

ALSO: LP senators try to stop Leila's - 'Drug raps vs De Lima 'illegal'
(In a joint statement, Sen President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, Sen. Francis Pangilinan & Sen. Benigno Aquino IV described the move as "illegal.")
[RELATED: DoJ files no-bail drugs raps vs De Lima]


FEBRUARY 18 -Opposition Senator Leila De Lima, left, talks to her close ally Senator Franklin Drilon prior to delivering her privilege speech at the Philippine Senate session, a day after being ousted from the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 in Pasay City, Philippines. De Lima, who led an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign, was ousted from the justice committee in a vote that human rights advocates said could derail accountability in the crackdown. AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo
Liberal Party (LP) senators reacted negatively to the filing of charges against their party mate Sen. Leila de Lima over her alleged complicity in the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prison. In a joint statement, Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, Sen. Francis Pangilinan and Sen. Benigno Aquino IV described the move as "illegal." “We reiterate that an arrest based on trumped-up charges is illegal,” the three LP senators said. On Friday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed three separate drug charges against De Lima and seven others with the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), which may lead to the former justice secretary's arrest and detention without bail. In the complaint, De Lima and other respondents were accused of violating Section 5 in relation to Section 26 (B) and Section 28 (criminal liability of government officials and employees) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The LP senators questioned the ruling of the DOJ since De Lima has not yet filed her counter-affidavit to air her side of the story. They appealed for total impartiality in the dispensation of justice. READ MORE, RELATED, DoJ files no-bail drugs raps vs De Lima...

ALSO: DoJ chief - Leila no political prisoner; 'BATO' offers PNP Custodial Care Center, QC to De Lima
[RELATED Human Rights Watch: Drop politically motivated charges vs De Lima]
[RELATED(2): Groups back De Lima amid reported threat to arrest her]


FEBRUARY 19 -Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima should disabuse her mind that she may become a “political prisoner,” based on her claim, since cases filed against her are all criminal in nature, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said. Aguirre added the cases filed by the Department of Justice (DoJ) against its former head and now senator were not politically motivated. “(The) Some of these cases involved illegal drugs. They are not politically motivated,” Aguirre said in a statement yesterday.Aguirre said the charges against her have nothing to do with her political stand. “Drug cases do not involve one’s political beliefs. It involves one’s choice to be involved in illegal drugs,” he said, adding that he inhibited himself from the raps filed against de Lima. De Lima’s Liberal Party (LP) said the DoJ was engaging in “purely political vendetta” that “has no place in justice system that upholds the rule of law” in filing the charges against de Lima. Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa also offered yesterday the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City to de Lima, if ever an arrest order is issued by the court against her. READ MORE...RELATED, Human Rights Watch: Drop politically motivated charges vs De Lima...RELATED(2) Groups back De Lima amid reported threat to arrest her...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE BELOW
OR CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE

Aguirre hurdles Trillanes, gets CA appointment;bad grammar caused appointment headaches


Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has been confirmed by the powerful Commission on Appointments despite opposition from Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. In this photo, Aguirre attends the confirmation hearing at the Philippine Senate on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Sen. Lacson's office/Released

MANILA,
FEBRUARY 20, 2017 (PHILSTAR) By Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) | Updated February 15, 2017 - The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed on Wednesday the ad interim appointment confirmation of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II despite the opposition of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

The confirmation came after a panel of the recommended the confirmation of President Rodrigo Duterte's choice to lead the justice portfolio.

No member of the powerful commission objected to Sen. Loren Legarda's move to have Aguirre confirmed. Legarda is the chairperson of the CA's committee on justice and judicial bar and council which tackled Aguirre's appointment.

Trillanes, one of Aguirre's harshest critics at the CA, described the appointment as a political decision.

READ MORE...

"At the end of the day it will be a political decision of the CA and sadly we have to live with that," Trillanes said.

Trillanes questioned Aguirre's fitness to become justice secretary following controversies surrounding the Bureau of Corrections and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

Aguirre is said to have restored special privileges to convicts in return for the congressional testimony against Sen. Leila De Lima. De Lima is accused of receiving P8 million in drug money from drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. She allegedly utilized this money in her senatorial campaign in May last year.

READ: BuCor ordered to probe NBP inmates’ privileges

Aguirre is also facing a bribery scandal at the BI following revelations that Jack Lam, a Macau-based gambling magnate, tried to bribe BI officials into releasing thousands of illegal Chinese workers at his casino hotel in Pampanga.

BI Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles allegedly received P50 million from Lam through Wally Sombero Jr..

President Rodrigo Duterte has already fired Argosino and Robles.

Aguirre also faced withering criticism for his statement that drug suspects and criminals are not part of humanity.

CA senators have defended Aguirre for these comments, saying that these are hyperbolic and figurative and should not be taken literally. They also attributed these to Aguirre's frustration in the government's intensified drive against drugs and criminality.

READ: Bad grammar causes Aguirre confirmation headaches

-------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

P100-M payoff bared Sombero, Lam’s interpreter tell Senate BI execs demanded amount in exchange for release of 1,300 casino workers 4 SHARES Share it! Updated February 17, 2017, 11:52 AM by Charissa M. Luci and Mario B. Casayuran


FEATURED TRIO – Wally Sombero (center), shown on his way to the Senate hearing Thursday, testified that immigration officials asked for a pay-off for the release of detained Chinese working in Jack Lam’s online gambling and casino. During the hearing, Atong Ang (left) cleared Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II of involvement in the bribery scandal. Shown presiding over the proceedings is Sen. Richard Gordon (right), who heads the Blue Ribbon Committee. (Richard Viñas | Manila Bulletin)

Dismissed Bureau of Immigration (BI) associate commissioner Al Argosino allegedly demanded P100 million from the camp of gambling mogul Jack Lam in exchange for the release of his 1,300 Chinese workers who were earlier arrested, retired police general Wenceslao “Wally” Sombero and Alex Yu, one of Lam’s interpreters, told the Senate yesterday.

In the same hearing, businessman Charlie “Atong” Ang, business partner of Lam, cleared Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente of extortion in connection with the bribery scandal involving BI.

He said it was Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles who were involved in the scandal.

“Not Morente and Aguirre, but Argosino and Robles, yes,” Ang said during the fourth hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

“Sila ang humingi ng pera (They asked for the money),” Ang said, adding the extortion happened last Nov. 29.

Sombero also cleared Aguirre of extortion.

“May extortion po (There was extortion),” Sombero said when he was questioned separately by Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Joel Villanueva.

Sombero said the extortion happened on Nov. 26, while “the pay-off” transpired the following day.

Alex Yu, one of two interpreters of Lam, likewise testified that the gambling mogul’s camp initially gave P50 million, but the BI officials demanded P50 million more.

He recalled that Argosino told the camp of Lam to produce P100 million or else his 1,300 Chinese employees, who were arrested at Fontana Hotel and Casino in Clark Freeport, Pampanga, will not be released.

“It is up to you, the ball is in your hand,” Yu, quoting Argosino, said.

Sombero said it took sometime before Lam’s “business partners” decided to produce the P100 million being asked by the BI officials.

“Hiniram lang namin sa business partners ni Jack Lam (we borrowed it from the business partners of Jack Lam),” Yu added.

Yu said Lam’s camp handed over the money to Sombero so that he could give it to the BI officials.

Sombero, who acted as a Lam’s “middleman,” reportedly gave P50 million contained in five bags to Robles and Argosino.


Charlie "Atong" Ang gestures during the Investigation on the Jack Lam and Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) alleged bribery scandal of the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations (Blue Ribbon) Fourth Public Hearing at the Session Hall of the Senate in Pasay City on February 16, 2017. Also in photo is Alex Yu. (photo by Richard V. Viñas) MANILA BULLETIN FILE

Sombero admitted serving as middleman and handed the P50 million to Argosino and Robles, adding he received P10 million from Lam’s camp. He, however, denied getting P2 million from the P50 million given to the BI officials. “Hindi po ako ang nagbigay ng pera, pero ako po ang nag-abot (I am not the source of the money, but I handed over the money),” Sombero said.

His response irked Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon. “Don’t be a smart aleck, don’t give us the runaround,” Gordon chided Sombero.

The retired police official also told the panel that since he did not want to get involved in the withdrawal of money, he designated a certain “Martin” and “Garfield” to do it for him.

But Argosino denied the allegations.

“I did not extort. Sinalya sa amin ang pera nila Sombero, Norman Ng, Alexander Yu, and Jack Lam (The money was given to us by Sombero, Norman Ng, Alexander Yu, and Jack Lam),” he said.

Lam’s camp even claimed the BI officials were charging them P56,000 per head as “bail.”

“Hindi niyo naisip na since wala pang kaso hindi puwede na i-bail? (Didn’t it cross your mind that you cannot post bail because there is no case yet?),” Cayetano asked Ang.

“Pasensya na po, hindi kasi kami abogado. (Pardon us, we are not lawyers),” Ang said.

GORDON BLAMED AGUIRRE

While Ang and Sombero cleared Aguirre, Gordon blamed the DOJ secretary for not putting a close to the case by not threatening to arrest Sombero for asking him to become the padrino (godfather) of Lam.

“That was a seduction (leading to bribery),” Gordon said.

Aguirre said the request of Sombero to become Lam’s padrino was not a crime because there was no overt act yet.

Meanwhile, Sombero said he appeared at the hearing “to save” the online gaming service industry in the country, which was “being sabotaged and derailed by relentless raids conducted by some misguided law enforcement officers with some misguided judges.”

“Until the occurrence of the unfortunate alleged extortion incident that transpired between November and December 1, I was trying to leave a legacy for my country,” he said.

“Unfortunately, my painstaking efforts to save the industry engulfed me in a controversy that has likewise pushed the online gaming service industry in the brink of extinction,” said Sombero, who served at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for 27 years.

He noted that he has been consistently and humbly offering his services to the government in so far as crafting the implementing guidelines for the full regulation of the gaming industry, both land-based and online.

“Believe it or not, I truly wanted to help President Duterte’s administration inasmuch as I was totally convinced that the Filipino people has finally elected a president who is sincerely committed to reform and have the political will to execute the necessary actions,” Sombero said.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

RELATED(2) FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Sombero: ‘P50-M payoff for release of arrested Chinese employees of Jack Lam’ 18 SHARES Share it! Published February 16, 2017, 4:40 PM By Charissa Luci


Retired police general Wenceslao “Wally” Sombero | Manila Bulletin

Retired police general Wenceslao “Wally” Sombero appeared at the Senate Committee on Blue Ribbon hearing, testifying that the “extortion and pay-off” involving Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials was to pave way for the release of gambling mogul Jack Lam’s Chinese employees who were arrested last year for supposedly illegally working in the country.

He gave an affirmative response when he was asked separately by Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Joel Villanueva during the fourth hearing of the Senate panel on the P50-million involving BI.

“May extortion po (There was extortion),” he said on Thursday, February 16.

Sombero said the extortion happened on November 26, while “the pay-off” transpired on November 27.

READ MORE...

He admitted serving a middleman and handed the P50 million to sacked Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, and even admitted receiving P10 million from Lam’s camp. He denied getting P2 million from the P50 million given to the BI officials.

“Hindi po ako ang nagbigay ng pera pero ako po ang nag-abot (I am not the source of money, but I handed the money),” Sombero said. Sombero’s response irked Blue Ribbon panel chairman Senator Richard Gordon.

“Don’t be a smart aleck, don’t give us the runaround,” Gordon said, chiding Sombero said.

Sombero told the panel since he did not want to get involved in the withdrawal of money, he designated a certain “Martin” and “Garfield” to do it for him.

He said it took some time before Lam’s “business partners” decided to produce the P100 million being asked by the BI officials.

Alexander “Alex” Yu, one of Lam’s interpreters said they got the money from Lam’s business associates.

“Hiniram lang namin sa business partners ni Jack Lam (we borrowed it from the business partners of Jack Lam),” he said.

In his opening statement, Sombero said he appeared the hearing “to save” the online gaming service industry in the country, which was “being sabotaged and derailed by relentless raids conducted by some misguided law enforcement officers with some misguided judges.”


TRIBUNE

House Deputy Minority leader Roque slaps De Lima with 4th ethics suit Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 17 February 2017 00:00



The problems faced by Sen. Leila de Lima just keep on piling up as House Deputy Minority Leader and Kabayan partylist Rep. Harry Roque Jr. yesterday filed an ethics complaint against the neophyte law-maker for allegedly conspiring to have him ousted from his seat in the lower chamber.

Roque in a complaint filed before the Senate ethics committee accused de Lima of conspiring with his partymate Rep. Ron Salo to hide their “involvement in the illicit drug activities in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and to stop me from digging deeper into their criminal activities there.”

He said de Lima also deceived the public about her relationship and criminal conspiracy with Ronnie Dayan, her former security aide and alleged drug money bagman.According to him, what led him to file a complaint was a personal reason and that he did not consult with the Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez before filing the complaint.

READ MORE...

His complaint before the Senate ethics panel committee is the fourth filed against De Lima.

“For me, the cause of action is really personal. The attempt to remove me from Congress is to keep me quiet and to punish me from my active participation in the investigation into the proliferation of the illegal drug trade in Muntinlupa,” Roque said.


Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque Jr. on Thursday filed an ethics complaint against Senator Leila de Lima for allegedly conspiring to have him ousted from his seat in the House of Representatives. Roque’s complaint before the Senate ethics committee is the fourth filed against De Lima.GMA NEWS FILE

Roque was among those who questioned Dayan during the House inquiry on the proliferation of drugs at the national penitentiary.

“When she didn’t say from the beginning that she and Ronnie Dayan had a domestic relationship, of course this was to hide the truth that Ronnie Dayan was her bagman,” he stressed.

The congressman also cited De Lima as being an “enabler and beneficiary of illicit drug trade at the NBP when she was the secretary of Justice.”

Last December 12, House leaders filed the third ethics complaint against De Lima for barring Dayan from appearing before the congressional probe into illegal drugs at the NBP.

The complaint was drafted by House justice panel chairman Reynaldo Umali, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Alvarez.

Umali said the filing of the ethics complaint simply meant that De Lima has been “violating the law, violating the rules of Congress, and violating her oath as a public (official).”

‘Baseless and inane’

De Lima, however, belittled the latest complaint filed against her, saying that Roque is merely trying to be relevant at her expense.

“If he wants to be relevant and be in the news again, which is presumably why he is dragging my name into their intra-party dispute, don’t do it at my expense,” the senator stressed.

“My advice to him is to focus on working on meaningful legislation rather than politicking. He won’t find salvation by trying to score cheap brownie points from the President by attacking me,” she added.

De Lima said Roque is obviously mistaken in accusing her of supposedly conniving with his partymate on the move to oust him from his congressional seat.

“I have no interest in meddling with their internal party affairs. It would speak better of his worth as a public servant, as a member of the legal profession and as human being if he faces his problems and fights his own battles honorably, rather than joining the open season declared by the President against me,” she said.

De Lima vehemently denied having links with Salo, saying she’s not acquainted to him although she knows him based on what she reads about him in the news.

“I don’t recall any instance that I have ever worked or dealt with him. Second, I don’t know where Roque is coming from. I’m sorry to hear that he has been expelled from his party. Maybe if he served his party better rather than wasting his time on baseless and inane attacks against me, he wouldn’t have lost his constituents,” she said. Angie M. Rosales and PNA

-----------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

DOJ files 3 cases versus de Lima 152 SHARES Share it! Published February 17, 2017, 4:52 PM By Jeffrey Damicog and MB Online


PREPARED FOR WORST- Senator Leila De Lima talks to media during an ambush interview regarding the impending release of a warrant of arrest issued to her by Department of Justice at Senate on Monday, February 13, 2017. Photo by Jansen Romero

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed three criminal cases against Sen. Leila de Lima in relation to her links to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) drug trade.

The cases were filed before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court on Friday afternoon, February 17, the DZMM TeleRadyo reported. De Lima said in a statement that her lawyers will be “filing the corresponding motions as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific branch.”

The senator shared she has long expected “to be the first political prisoner under his [Duterte] regime.”

Despite this, the senator remained firm on her stand and expressed courage in facing her “looming imprisonment.”

“We will continue to fight this battle and wage our own war for the human rights and democracy,” De Lima said.

Earlier, the Court of Appeals (CA) has refused to issue just a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting the Senator over allegations of her involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP.

The CA Special Sixth Division has issued a three-page resolution dated February 10 which “denies the prayer for issuance of of an injunctive writ (temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction” that was sought by the lawmaker.

In the meantime, the appelate court required the DOJ prosecutors handling the case and the complainants who filed the complaints against her to submit their comment on the petition of de Lima within 10 days from receipt of the resolution.

On the other hand, the CA also required de Lima to respond to the comments within 10 days from receipt.

In its resolution, the appelate court pointed out that de Lima should show “the right to be protected exists prima facie” and “the acts sought to be enjoined are violative of that right.”

“Mere allegations of the existence of the above-named requisites, absent of proof, cannot be the basis for the issuance of an injunctive writ,” read the resolution penned by Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenuela and Associate Justices Romeo Barza and Edwin Sorongon.

-------------------------------------------------------

RELATED(2) FROM THE TRIBUNE

Aguirre shrugs off Leila fears amid likely arrest Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 16 February 2017 00:00 By Julius Leonen, Angie M. Rosales and Joyce Ann L. Rocamora



Paranoia appears to have overtaken Sen. Leila de Lima who is awaiting the resolution of a string of complaints mostly involving her being a complicit in the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) drugs trade as she pressed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday for a guarantee for her 100 percent safety.

Aguirre allayed de Lima’s fear assuring her a safe and secure detention if authorities will arrest her.

De Lima the other day expressed fears that she might be killed inside her detention cell similar to other victims of extrajudicial killings (EJK).

Responding to the embattled senator’s sentiments, Aguirre said de Lima would be granted a safe and secure detention cell once she is taken into custody for drug trafficking charges.

“That’s just what’s on her mind. We should just let her be, let her say what she thinks. But for me, I’m sure a hundred percent that won’t happen,” Aguirre said.

“Everyone on social media is asking us about when we would resolve the case. They said we were too slow,” the Justice secretary said.

The DoJ, however, has yet to release the resolution of the four illegal drug cases against the embattled senator, despiteAguirre’s statement suggesting that it would be out not later this week.

READ MORE...

De Lima had accused Aguirre of “railroading” the drug cases against her, insisting that the justice secretary and the Duterte administration is plotting to jail her as soon as possible.

Aguirre, however, admitted that the DoJ’s five-member panel is taking too long to come up with an air-tight case against de Lima, saying that the DoJ is being deluged with complaints for them to work faster.

“That’s why I’m wondering, how could (Sen. de Lima’s camp) say that we’re rushing (the case), when I’ve been hammered with complaints for us to work faster,” Aguirre said.



De Lima confessed that she is expecting an imminent arrest for her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs. She even bared that she has already packed her clothes and books, showing that she is ready to go to jail.

The senator has been insisting that she is merely a victim of political persecution by the Duterte administration despite the many testimonies and evidences presented by self-confessed drug lords, NBP drug convicts and a former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) official against her.

It will be recalled that according to the sworn affidavit of NBP inmate Tomas Doniña, not only opposition Senators de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV but also the Liberal Party were linked in the stabbing of drug convict Jaybee Sebastian in an alleged attempt to keep him from testifying against de Lima.

Doniña said that a former colleague of his at the Philippine Navy, who he said served as Trillanes’ middleman, ordered him to kill Sebastian to keep him from spilling the beans on the senator in the ongoing proceedings into the NBP drugs trade.

The affidavit mentioned that Sebastian at first refused to testify against de Lima because the LP is a powerful group, and the Navy official who wanted Sebastian silenced said that the Duterte administration will surely fall.

De Lima and Trillanes, however, denied that they are involved in Sebastian’s stabbing.

Amid the stabbing fiasco, the duo was seen to have launched continuous offensives against Aguirre, with the attacks linking him to the Immigration bribery scandal and blocking his confirmation at the Commission on Appointments (CA).

But Aguirre was cleared by Jack Lam’s alleged middle man Wenceslao “Wally” Sombrero following his arrival in Manila, and he was finally confirmed as Justice Secretary by the CA despite opposition from Trillanes.

99% not good for Leila

Aguirre after his confirmation, however, gave a “99 percent” assurance to de Lima on her safety that elicited a question from the senator “why the remaining one percent?”

Continuing further, she said having a safe and secured detention area would be enough since she’s not asking for special or VIP (very important person) treatment.

“It’s a foregone conclusion that it’s what they will do,” she told reporters yesterday.

Aguire said he is hoping for the immediate release of the resolution by National Prosecutor Service.

The complaints against De Lima were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation, crime watchdog Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala and high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian for her alleged involvement in illegal drug trade.

According to Aguirre, while he’s not entirely sure, the charges and imminent arrest warrant may come out within this week.

“Only the National Prosecutor Service knows,” he said in an interview with reporters.

Meanwhile, Secretary Aguirre revealed that he don’t have the knowledge yet whether De Lima will be detained alongside Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada.

Aguirre also aired sentiment that if she’s criticizing him over alleged airconditioned cells being enjoyed by high-profile prisoners, she should also stop requesting for a different treatment. There should be equality and “we need to be fair”, said Aguirre.

De Lima crying wolf — solons

Lawmakers also accused de Lima of crying wolf over her claim of her imminent arrest saying her fear remains a unfounded as of the moment.

In a press briefing, Deputy Minority Leader, ABS Rep. Eugene de Vera said that even if the Department of Justice (DoJ) finds probable cause to file criminal charges against her, the final say on the filing of a case against her still lies with the Office of the Ombudsman and the issuance of an arrest warrant against her will be the under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

“I don’t know where such fear is coming from. But I do believe, it is the Office of the Ombudsman that has the sole responsibility to charge her and ask the Sandiganbayan to issue warrant (of arrest),” de Vera explained.

De Vera said the DoJ has no jurisdiction over the conduct of preliminary investigation, much less issuance of arrest warrant, on De Lima’s alleged involved in criminal activities relating to the multi-billion peso National Bilibid Prison (NBP) illegal drug trade, as the alleged crime was supposedly committed in relation to her office as then Justice Secretary.

DE LIMA's JURISDICTION

The solon said being a former justice secretary, De Lima is fully aware of the legal issues involved, thus, her fears that she might be arrested soon remains unfounded.

A lawyer himself, de Vera explained that the preliminary investigation and determination of probable cause for crimes involving top government officials falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.

“Once probable cause is determined by the Ombudsman, they will have to file the charges before the Sandiganbayan,” he stressed.

Senior Deputy Minority Leader Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said the former justice secretary knows what to expect from the DOJ because it was she who pursued the filing of criminal chargres and arrest of former president and now Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Atienza noted that despite failing to get enough evidence to pin down Arroyo to a plunder charge, De Lima and the Ombudsman still insisted in charging the former president with plunder for her alleged involvement in the unlawful release of intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Arroyo was detained for nearly four years for a charge that the Supreme Court dismissed for lack of evidence.

“De Lima believes she knows what is in store for her,” said Atienza, who served in the Arroyo Cabinet as secretary of environment and natural resources.

De Lima has been tagged for her alleged involvement in the extortion and bribery activities linked to the reported NBP illegal drug trade.

For the past several days, De Lima has been expressing to the new media fears for her safety the moment an arrest warrant is issued for her detention.

She has also aired fears of becoming a victim of extra judicial killing which has been the reported fate of over 2,000 suspected drug pushers and mere users under the Duterte drug war.

“There will be groups that will be interested in eliminating me,” De Lima told reporters.

De Vera said the lady senator has nothing to fear if she is truly innocent of the charges.

“In the meantime, she should be ready for her defense during the preliminary investigation that the Ombudsman has to conduct,” De Vera added.

BuCor execs snub Trillanes

BuCor officials earned the ire of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for being a no-show in his committee hearing on alleged special treatment accorded to some high-profile convicts who testified against Sen. Leila de Lima in the House of Representatives currently detained at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) custodial center.

“We will be recommending the issuance of subpoena for those who did not attend today,” Trillanes, chairman of the committee on civil service, government reorganization and professional regulation, said after the hearing.

BuCor director general Benjamin delos Santos and BuCor legal office chief Atty. Albert Herrera Lim will be issued subpoenas respectively, the senator said, along with AFP officers who conducted inspection on the detention of former National Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmates.

What probably triggered Trillanes’ into calling for the issuance of subpoena was the snubbing of delos Santos in his called proceedings even as the latter was sighted within the Senate premises prior to the said hearing.

Trillanes noted the attendance of Delos Santos in an earlier proceeding, providing moral support in the confirmation hearing of Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II where the senator happen to have stood as the “oppositor” of the Cabinet official. Charlie V. Manalo


MANILA STANDARD

De Lima lashes at 'vindictive policy' posted February 18, 2017 at 12:01 am by Macon Ramos-Araneta and John Paolo Bencito


Senator Leila de Lima

SENATOR Leila de Lima on Friday said she has long prepared herself to be the first political prisoner under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

De Lima said this was so because the criminal charges filed against her were politically motivated, and aimed at silencing her vocal opposition to the administration’s support of extrajudicial killings in its war on illegal drugs.

“Perhaps my looming imprisonment based on false charges filed against me by the DoJ, while Janet Lim Napoles’s release is being supported by the Office of the Solicitor General, is the wakeup call that our country needs.”

“Change has, indeed, come, and it has come to devour our sense of justice and morality—where right is turned to wrong, and wrong is made right,” she added.

If the loss of her freedom is the price she has to pay for standing up against the butchery of the Duterte regime, De Lima said it is a price she is willing to pay.

“But they are mistaken if they think my fight ends here. It has only begun,” she said.

De Lima said her ordeal was the result of the kind of vindictive politics that she has come to expect from the Duterte administration.

READ MORE...

“Despite these fascist methods employed by this fascist regime, we will continue to fight this battle and wage our own war for human rights and democracy. In the end, justice will prevail and we will be vindicated,” she said.

On Friday, the Justice department filed criminal charges against her with the regional trial court in Muntinlupa.

She said her lawyers are already on top of the situation and will be filing the corresponding motions as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific branch.

De Lima was accused of receiving drug money from high profile prisoners inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was Justice secretary. She allegedly used the money to bankroll her senatorial bid in the last elections.

In the Palace, the chief presidential legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, said De Lima could suffer the same fate that she had consigned former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo to when she was still Justice secretary.

“If it’s proven that she was involved in drugs, she will be jailed. Then she can get a taste of what she did to Arroyo,” Panelo said.

At the time, De Lima filed charges against Arroyo over the alleged misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. While Arroyo was detained for almost five years in a military hospital, the state never proved the case against her, and she was released in July 2016 after the Supreme Court acquitted her on corruption charges.

It was De Lima who initially barred Arroyo from leaving the country in 2011 to seek medical treatment, despite a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court.

Panelo said De Lima should welcome the opportunity to prove that she is not guilty.

Also on Friday, De Lima failed to to secure from the Court of Appeals a stay order that would have stopped the Justice department from deciding on the criminal complaints against her.

--------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

De Lima: SolGen move on Napoles case 'suspicious' Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News Posted at Feb 15 2017 08:55 PM


MANILA – Senator Leila de Lima questioned Solicitor General Jose Calida's move to call for the acquittal of Janet Lim Napoles in her serious illegal detention case involving whistleblower Benhur Luy.

"It is questionable, I find it suspicious," De Lima told reporters.

De Lima, as former Justice Secretary, led the filing of cases against alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Napoles and several lawmakers.

She said, with this move of the top government lawyer, it seemed that the administration was now taking the side of the lawmakers and other personalities indicted over the scam.

“It looks like this administration is bent on taking the side of every high profile crook and scoundrel the past administration was able to jail. I cannot imagine what justification the OSG has come up with this time in order to sabotage the criminal conviction the DOJ has successfully secured in the past administration,” De Lima said in a statement.

READ MORE...

“From the ‘tribune of the people’ to the ‘tribune of convicted criminals’, this is probably the lowest point ever that the OSG has reached in its years of existence.”

The senator also reiterated that the illegal detention case against Napoles was carefully handled by prosecutors which led to the conviction of Napoles.

"Pambihira iyan, bihirang mangyari iyan na ang estado through the Solicitor General would now move to share the position of the accused," De Lima said.

De Lima said, releasing Napoles in jail will severely damage institutions.

“Release Napoles, the number one enabler of plunderers in government, and we might as well dissolve our justice system and declare this government a government of criminals, where the innocent are imprisoned and the criminals liberated. Maybe next they will be setting free the convicted drug lords who testified against me,” she said.

“Under these circumstances, it is indeed an honor to be imprisoned under this regime of criminal coddlers.”

In a news conference on Wednesday, Calida said the Makati Regional Trial Court "erred" in handing a guilty verdict on alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Napoles in her illegal detention case.

“In the case of Napoles, it is my well-considered opinion, as well as the opinion of my assistant solicitor generals that the court, the Regional Trial Court, erred in convicting the accused, Janet Napoles, for the crime of serious illegal detention,” Calida said in a news conference.

“When we look at the evidence, the transcript of records, there are many glaring instances which will support the acquittal of the accused.”

The OSG’s move prompted critics and observers to allege that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte may have already reached a modus vivendi with Napoles.
Calida, however, said his office’s move to ask for Napoles’ acquittal was only done in the interest of justice.

He said, Duterte "has nothing to do with this decision."

"The President does not instruct his Cabinet members what to do," he said.

“What deal are you talking about? There is no deal. My interest is to see to it that justice is done.”

------------------------------------------------

RELATED(2) PHILSTAR

De Lima fears for safety if jailed By Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) | Updated February 14, 2017 - 5:02pm 3 211 googleplus0 0


Sen. Leila De Lima has expressed fear for her safety once she is taken into custody in relation to drug-related charges against her. Senate PRIB/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila De Lima expressed on Tuesday fears for her safety if she is taken into custody in relation to drug charges filed against her.

De Lima hopes she would be placed in a safe and secure place in the event that she's arrested for the cases filed against her in connection with the proliferation of the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

READ: De Lima sees looming arrest over drug charges

"Ang pakiusap ko lang po, sakaling may mangyari na, God forbid, yung eventuality na yan, ay sana ilagay naman ako sa isang lugar na magiging safe and secure ako," De Lima, a former Justice secretary, said in an interview.

READ MORE...

"Marami na ho ang nangyayari, diba? Pinapatay din sa loob ng selda. So, what is another EJK?" she added.

De Lima's fears stem from the spate of extrajudicial killings in the wake of the government's campaign against illegal drugs of which the senator is a staunch critic.

"Sa mga laban ko sa EJKs, and since I am being tagged as Bilibid drug trade queen, I am being tagged as public enemy number 1 pa nitong si Solicitor General Calida. There will be groups that will be interested in eliminating me," she said.

This criticism of the government's anti-drugs program is the reason why she has been the target of a blistering wave of criticism and attacks from the government and its allies, the senator believes.

De Lima said that it's President Rodrigo Duterte himself who wants her to be incarcerated. The senator has since expressed her preparation for any eventuality.

READ: De Lima: I'm prepared for the 'worst-case' scenario

Duterte has labeled De Lima as the highest official to have benefited from the illegal drugs trade at the NBP during her time as Justice secretary of the Aquino administration. The NBP is under the Department of Justice (DOJ).

De Lima supposedly received P8 million from convict Jaybee Sebastian to finance her campaign kitty in last year's May senatorial election. She, however, has vehemently denied the allegations.

READ: Blanket denial from De Lima

De Lima is facing drug-related charges filed by the DOJ, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and former NBI directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala and Sebastian.

READ: More drug, graft charges filed vs De Lima

No plans to flee the country

De Lima said that she would just ask the help of her colleagues in relaying her concerns over her security.

She also thumbed down suggestions that she would seek asylum in another country and vowed to continue fighting even if she is already in jail.

The senator also clarified that she does not have any plans of fleeing the country, hiding or feigning sickness, a ploy that many Philippine government officials facing charges in courts did in the past.

"How can I resist? I cannot physically resist. I am morally and psychologically resisting it because I'm innocent absolutely, but physically cannot resist," she said.

"Hindi po ako tatakas, hindi po ako magtatago, hindi po ako pupunta ng ospital, hindi po ako mag-we-wheelchair and neck brace," De Lima added.

"I'm pinning my hopes on the judiciary. I have faith in our judiciary, especially the courts, the Supreme Court," she said as she vowed to exhaust all legal remedies in her cases.

Clothes, books all ready

De Lima added that she wants her family to be psychologically ready for any eventuality.

"Sabi ko tatagan lang nila ang loob nila. I told them that it's imminent na baka nga tuluyan na akong ipa-aresto," she said.

De Lima also shared that she had already instructed her staff to prepare her clothes and all the other things she would need once she was taken into custody.

She said that she had already briefed and prepared her staff, and even forbade them from crying.

"I want everyone to be prepared, and sabi ko nga, if that happens already, ayaw kong makakita ng umiiyak, papagalitan ko yung makikita ko," the senator said in jest.


TRIBUNE

BREAKING....FEB 20: Senate hands off on de Lima arrest Written by Angie M. Rosales Monday, 20 February 2017 00:00


NO WARRANT WHILE IN SESSION — KOKO

The Senate will not stand in the way of the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima who is facing three counts of drug trafficking charges the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed with the Muntinlupa regional trial court (RTC), Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel said.

Arresting officers cannot be prevented from serving the warrant, in the event that such order is issued by the courts, against de Lima, since the case involves drug trafficking which is no longer covered by immunity from arrest provided for lawmakers under the Constitution, as it involves a non-bailable offense, Pimentel added.

Arresting officers, however, cannot serve the warrant of arrest on her while the Senate plenary session or any proceedings in the upper chamber is ongoing, Pimentel said.



“If they disrupt the (Senate) proceedings, they will be the ones committing a crime. Even a legislative session of a local (government) council can’t be disrupted or disturbed (under the Constitution),” Pimentel stressed.The senator said it’s also unlikely for them to come up and pass a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on the need to ensure the safety of De Lima in jail.

READ MORE...

“It is not need since it falls under what I will call as (undue) interference. Let her lawyers do that. Who are we to interfere? That’s the essence of respect of the independence of the judiciary,” he said explaining the principle of separation of powers of the legislative and the judiciary on matters such as the case of De Lima.

“When it comes to the decision of the court, the other branches of government should not interfere. Let’s there is already a warrant of arrest, who are we not to honor a warrant of arrest?,” he said.

De Lima was formally charged Friday by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade inside the national penitentiary before the Muntinlupa regional trial court (RTC).

Pimentel said the Senate also does not plan to interfere on the place where de Lima may be detained.

In the case of Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. who are currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame due to plunder charges, “I don’t think the Senate negotiated in their place of detention,” Pimentel said.

“It is through their lawyers that they can negotiate with the police,” the Senate chief said.

It is where the principle on the independence of the judiciary comes in as any such “arrangement” can only be made feasible if it has the approval of the courts, he pointed out.

Leila says ‘it’s about ideals’

De Lima, for her part, expressed gratitude to those who continue to show their support to her, reiterated her claims that she is being falsely accused by her detractors.

“My only message to you, besides my heartfelt gratitude for your kind words and thoughts during these trying times, is to never forget what this battle is about,” she said.

“This is not about me, Leila M. De Lima. I am but one person that they want to make an example out of. This is about the ideals that I, and many others like me, are standing up for: the end to extrajudicial killings, the fight against the revival of the death penalty, the refusal to revert to the dark times of cronyism and rampant corruption in government, and fight for the ultimate triumph of Truth, Justice and the Rule of Law — not this fake, poisonous extralegal and oppressive alternatives they are peddling,” she added.

De Lima said that while she stood her ground to face false accusations against her, she urged her supporters not allow these issues from distracting them from what they’re truly fighting for.

“They may put me behind bars and shame me before the world — they may even seek to silence me more permanently, God forbid — but they cannot fool the people forever. I will be vindicated, the victims of these rampant killings will find justice, and the budding cronyism in this Administration will come to an end,” she said.

“It will not take twenty years, for the people have learned their lessons hard and well. Truth, Justice and the Rule of Law will triumph in the end,” de Lima added.

“These are dangerous times we live in today — a time when doing the right thing is penalized, while, at the same time, participating in the commission and whitewashing of acts of butchery, corruption and abuse of authority is not only protected, but even rewarded,” she went.

“It is dangerous, not just because of the heinous acts that are being perpetrated, but because of the culture of fear, silence and impunity that it breeds,” de Lima added.
VACC warns vs VIP treatment

Anti-crime crusader Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), who is among the complainants in the drug trafficking cases against de Lima, slammed Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts for crying political persecution in the cases they have filed at the Justice Department.

In a phone interview, VACC Chairman Dante Jimenez said that he is disappointed at the LP for politicking the criminal cases against Sen. de Lima despite evidences and testimonies presented in the case.

“This is not a political case. This is drug trafficking. This is illegal drug trade. This is criminal,” Jimenez said.

“I am very saddened. I am very disappointed because they are mixing this up with politicking, despite what the witnesses have already said and what evidences have already been presented,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez also called on the Duterte administration to deny Sen. de Lima of special treatment, stressing that she should be locked up inside a regular jail cell like any other prisoner.

De Lima has been making allegations, which her critics have branded “hearsay,” that the DoJ) has been granting luxurious privileges for convicts at the AFP Custodial Center in exchange for testimonies against her.

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), however, issued a report stating that none of what de Lima has alleged was true. BuCor released the report after it has investigated the detention cells at the military prison facility.

“If an arrest warrant would be issued, De Lima should be imprisoned inside a regular jail. No special treatment should be provided,” Jimenez said.

“It’s time for the Duterte Administration to prove that it is different from the past administrations who have been providing special treatment to plunderers, to suspected drug traders,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez also said that he suspected the LP may have benefitted from the NBP narcotics trade, stressing that the drug trade flourished under Sen. de Lima’s watch when she was still Justice Secretary.

“That is what I have been suspecting, that among the sources of the Liberal Party‘s funds may have been accumulated narcotics trade,” Jimenez said.

After an NBP inmate tagged the LP in the stabbing of drug convict Jaybee Sebastian, Jimenez told the Tribune that former President Benigno Aquino had ignored the colossal drug trade at the national penitentiary because it would benefit his party.

“Has Aquino ever petitioned in any of his State of the Nation Addresses to launch a crackdown in these colossal illegal drug operations at Bilibid? Never,” Jimenez told the Tribune.

“(The LP) may have milked (the illegal drug trade) at NBP for its campaign. If that is the case, then all parties must investigate this mess,” Jimenez said.

“Sebastian had been the point-man at some time, surely people will want to kill him in order to silence him,” Jimenez said.

Meanwhile, Jimenez said that he has high expectations that the trial court will find clear probable cause to charge Sen. de Lima for drug trafficking.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said last Friday that the Muntinlupa RTC, where the criminal cases against Sen. de Lima was filed, will raffle the cases today to determine which branch will handle the cases.

Aguirre said that once the cases have been raffled, an arrest warrant will be issued once the RTC judge finds clear probable cause to charge Sen. de Lima.

“I have high expectations that when the judge reads the cases filed by the DoJ, which stemmed from our complaints, the judge will find it that there is clear probable cause,” Jimenez told the Tribune.

“I’m pretty sure that anytime this week, this will be over. Otherwise, it would reflect what we have been saying about how slow our justice system is,” Jimenez said. Julius Leone

---------------------------------------

RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Duterte to De Lima on drug cases: Face the music Published February 17, 2017 4:39pm Updated February 17, 2017 5:04pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday urged Senator Leila de Lima to accept the consequences of her actions after the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed three drug-related cases against her.

"She has to face the music," Duterte told reporters in Davao City.

Duterte said he believes the cases against De Lima are strong, pointing out that it took months and several witnesses to develop the cases.

"Actually ilang testigo iyan. It took months to develop the case. Alam naman ng Pilipino iyan. Alam naman ng Pilipino na ganoon talaga ang istilo niya," he said.

De Lima, a vocal critic of the Duterte administration's violent war against illegal drugs, was charged before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court earlier in the day.

A former Justice secretary, De Lima was accused of violating Section 5 (sale and trading of illegal drugs) in relation to Section 3 (jj), Section 26 (b), and Section 28 (criminal liability of government officials and employees) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Government prosecutors said De Lima tolerated drug syndicates inside the national penitentiary in exchange for campaign funds in the 2016 polls during her term as secretary of the Department of Justice.

The neophyte lawmaker has repeatedly denied the charges, describing them as political persecution. She said she is ready to be the first "political prisoner" under the Duterte administration.

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo told De Lima that she should see the cases as an opportunity to defend herself and prove she's not guilty.

"Kung mapapatanuyan na involved siya sa drugs, eh di makukulong siya. Matitikman niya na iyong pinatikim niya kay Arroyo," Panelo said, referring to former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who spent years in detention during the Aquino administration. —KBK, GMA News


MANILA STANDARD

De Lima lashes at the President's 'vindictive policy'; considers herself 'first political prisoner' posted February 18, 2017 at 12:01 am by Macon Ramos-Araneta and John Paolo Bencito


Senator Leila de Lima

SENATOR Leila de Lima on Friday said she has long prepared herself to be the first political prisoner under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

De Lima said this was so because the criminal charges filed against her were politically motivated, and aimed at silencing her vocal opposition to the administration’s support of extrajudicial killings in its war on illegal drugs.

“Perhaps my looming imprisonment based on false charges filed against me by the DoJ, while Janet Lim Napoles’s release is being supported by the Office of the Solicitor General, is the wakeup call that our country needs.”

“Change has, indeed, come, and it has come to devour our sense of justice and morality—where right is turned to wrong, and wrong is made right,” she added.

If the loss of her freedom is the price she has to pay for standing up against the butchery of the Duterte regime, De Lima said it is a price she is willing to pay.

READ MORE...

“But they are mistaken if they think my fight ends here. It has only begun,” she said.

De Lima said her ordeal was the result of the kind of vindictive politics that she has come to expect from the Duterte administration.

“Despite these fascist methods employed by this fascist regime, we will continue to fight this battle and wage our own war for human rights and democracy. In the end, justice will prevail and we will be vindicated,” she said.

On Friday, the Justice department filed criminal charges against her with the regional trial court in Muntinlupa.

She said her lawyers are already on top of the situation and will be filing the corresponding motions as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific branch.

De Lima was accused of receiving drug money from high profile prisoners inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was Justice secretary. She allegedly used the money to bankroll her senatorial bid in the last elections.

In the Palace, the chief presidential legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, said De Lima could suffer the same fate that she had consigned former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo to when she was still Justice secretary.

“If it’s proven that she was involved in drugs, she will be jailed. Then she can get a taste of what she did to Arroyo,” Panelo said.

At the time, De Lima filed charges against Arroyo over the alleged misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. While Arroyo was detained for almost five years in a military hospital, the state never proved the case against her, and she was released in July 2016 after the Supreme Court acquitted her on corruption charges.

It was De Lima who initially barred Arroyo from leaving the country in 2011 to seek medical treatment, despite a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court.

Panelo said De Lima should welcome the opportunity to prove that she is not guilty.

Also on Friday, De Lima failed to to secure from the Court of Appeals a stay order that would have stopped the Justice department from deciding on the criminal complaints against her.


PHILSTAR

LP senators: Drug raps vs De Lima 'illegal' (philstar.com) | Updated February 18, 2017 - 3:29pm 16 625 googleplus0 0


Opposition Senator Leila De Lima, left, talks to her close ally Senator Franklin Drilon prior to delivering her privilege speech at the Philippine Senate session, a day after being ousted from the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 in Pasay City, Philippines. De Lima, who led an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign, was ousted from the justice committee in a vote that human rights advocates said could derail accountability in the crackdown. AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Liberal Party (LP) senators reacted negatively to the filing of charges against their party mate Sen. Leila de Lima over her alleged complicity in the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prison.

In a joint statement, Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, Sen. Francis Pangilinan and Sen. Benigno Aquino IV described the move as "illegal."

“We reiterate that an arrest based on trumped-up charges is illegal,” the three LP senators said.

On Friday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed three separate drug charges against De Lima and seven others with the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), which may lead to the former justice secretary's arrest and detention without bail.

In the complaint, De Lima and other respondents were accused of violating Section 5 in relation to Section 26 (B) and Section 28 (criminal liability of government officials and employees) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The LP senators questioned the ruling of the DOJ since De Lima has not yet filed her counter-affidavit to air her side of the story. They appealed for total impartiality in the dispensation of justice.

READ MORE...

“Senator De Lima has been pre-judged before any of the charges were filed as no less than the President vowed to destroy her in public and was sure De Lima would land in jail before any case was filed,” the senators said.

Drilon, Pangilinan and Aquino also asked Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, whom they described as President Rodrigo Duterte's "alter ego," to inhibit from any and all cases filed against De Lima.

According to them, the Ombudsman, not the RTC, has primary jurisdiction over cases against public officers "cognizable" by the Sandiganbayan. Violation of RA 9165, they said, should fall under “other offenses committed by public officials” stipulated in the Sandiganbayan Law.

"We maintain that if this warrant of arrest is served, it would be a clear violation of legal proceedings and is therefore a violation of her (De Lima) Constitutional right to due process," the LP senators said. - Kristine Daguno-Bersamina

--------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

DoJ files no-bail drugs raps vs De5 Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 18 February 2017 00:00 By Julius Leonen



The Department of Justice (DoJ) filed yesterday three separate drug-trafficking complaints at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) against Sen. Leila de Lima for her alleged role as a protector of the colossal narcotics trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

De Lima and seven others were accused of violation of Section 5 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which penalizes the sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs.Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said to his knowledge, the criminal cases filed against the accused are non-bailable.

“As far as I know, these kinds of cases are non-bailable, because if you are found guilty, the penalty is reclusion perpetua,” Aguirre said.

The arrest warrant on de Lima and the other accused is expected to be served on Monday.

READ MORE...

“After the raffling of the cases on Monday, a warrant of arrest may be issued on the same day if there is clear probable cause,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre expressed confidence that they have constructed a strong case against the accused, insisting that the National Prosecution Service (NPS) would not file cases in court if the evidence is weak .

“The resolution would not be filed by the National Prosecution Service (NPS) if there is a possibility that (Sen. de Lima) would not be charged. We believe that she would be charged,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre added that once the arrest warrants have been served, the court may issue a Hold Departure Order (HDO) against the accused. As of now, only the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) has been issued against the respondents.

De Lima, who has been branded by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) as the country’s Public Enemy number 1 for her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country, will soon face an arrest warrant later this week, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said yesterday.

Others who have been charged with one count each of violation of the anti-narcotics law are former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Franklin Jesus Bucayu, his alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli, NBP inmate Jaybee Sebastian, former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director Rafael Ragos, and Sen. de Lima’s former aide Joenel Sanchez.

The charge sheets were filed at the Muntinlupa RTC following the issuance of the 52-page resolution signed by the five-member DoJ panel led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong. He was joined by Assistant State Prosecutor Editha Fernandez, and Senior Assistant City Prosecutors Alexander Ramos, Leilia Llanes and Evangeline Viudez-Canobas.

According to the charge sheets, Sen. de Lima is facing three counts of illegal drug trading, while her co-accused ex-lover and former driver Ronnie Dayan and the senator’s nephew Jose Adrian Dera are facing two counts of the charges.

Justice Secretary Aguirre said that while the complaint against self-confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa was dismissed, he has ordered the NBI t launch a new probe into his illegal drug activities and other related offenses, citing his extra-judicial confession.

President Duterte said in Davao City that de Lima “will have to face the music” in the charges filed against her.

Duterte added he believes the cases against De Lima are strong and a product of months of case build up that involved several witnesses. “Filipinos already know her and her style,” he said.

Leila cries persecution

De Lima said the filing of the DoJ cases won’t stope her from condemning what she claimed as political persecution against her by the Duterte administration
“This is travesty of truth and justice. Plain and simple political persecution. I will fight this out for as long as I can. They can never break my spirit,” she said in a text message to reporters.

The senator said she has prepared herself to be the first political prisoner of the fascist regime of the present administration.

“Perhaps my looming imprisonment based on false charges filed against me by the DoJ, while Janet Lim Napoles’ release is being supported by the OSG (Office of the Solicitor General), is the wakeup call that our country needs,” she said.

“Change has indeed come and it has come to devour our sense of justice and morality where right is turned to wrong and wrong is made right,” the senator said.

De Lima said said she will continue the fight against the “fascist methods employed by this facist regime.”

“If the loss of my freedom is the price I have to pay for standing up against the butchery of the Duterte regime, then it is a price I am willing to pay. But they are mistaken if they think my fight ends here. It has only begun,” she said in a statement.

“This is the kind of vindictive politics that we only expect from this regime. We will continue to fight this battle and wage our own war for human rights and democracy. In the end, justice will prevail and we will be vindicated,” she added.

De Lima said they have long anticipated the filing of criminal charges against her which she believes are nothing less than a politically-motivated act by the administration to clamp down on any vocal opposition against its supposed policy on extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals and drug personalities.

“May lawyers are already on top of the situation and will be filing the corresponding motuins as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific branch,” she said.

The senator for almost a week now, has been anticipating her arrest as information that has reached her indicated the Department of Justice (DoJ) will file cases against her before a regular court and not the Ombudsman to supposedly expedite the issuance of a warrant for her arrest.

The filing of charges against her coincided with the report on the Court of Appeals (CA) ditching her petition to stop the DOJ from deciding on the criminal complaints against her in relation to her supposed involvement in the illegal drugs trade inside the NBP.

Probe Wu abduction — Aguirre

Aguirre has also ordered the NBI and requested the Philippine National Police (PNP) to probe the alleged kidnapping of the niece of NBP drug convict Wu Tuan Yan aka Peter Co, only known as Sally, together with her husband and other companions.

The resolution states that they were reportedly kidnapped “by elements of the PNP NCRPO Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs and Jose Adrian Dera” last March 2016.

In addition, the Justice Secretary has also instructed the NBI and the BuCor to probe the extortion activities of Danilo Rico Martinez, identified as a volunteer pastor at the NBP, alleged by inmate Froilan “Poypoy” Lacson Trestiza.

The resolution, however, stated that the DoJ panel dismissed the complaint filed against former DoJ Undersecretary Francisco F. Baraan III for insufficiency of evidence.

It was also stated in the resolution that the DoJ prosecutors have dismissed complaints against NBP drug convicts Herbert Colanggo, Engelberto Acenas Durano, Vicente Sy, Jojo Baligad and Wu Tuan Yuan aka Peter Co, explaining that they will serve as state witnesses.

The DoJ panel also indorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman the criminal complaints for violations of the RA 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, RA 6713 Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and PD 46 or Act Punishing the Receiving and Giving of Gifts of Public Officials and Employees, and bribery and indirect bribery under the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

In a press briefing yesterday at NBI headquarters, Aguirre said the raffling of the cases that involve de Lima to determine the court which will handle the case will be conducted on Monday.

Aguirre said that once the case has been raffled, and if the RTC branch finds that there is clear probable cause against the accused, arrest warrants would then be issued against them.

CA denies TRO plea

De Lima failed to halt the DoJ probe into her alleged involvement in the country’s narcotics trade after the Court of Appeals (CA) denied the senator’s request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the DoJ.

Sen. de Lima last week trooped to the appellate court to restrain the DoJ from probing the case and to annul the DoJ proceedings for alleged “gross violation of her right to due process.”

In a three-page resolution dated February 10 but only released yesterday, the CA’s Special Sixth Division denied de Lima’s request for an injunctive writ, or what is also called a TRO or a preliminary injunction.

The CA ruling stated de Lima has failed to show in her petition how she would suffer irreparable loss if the CA refuses to grant her appeal to bar the DoJ from resolving the drug raps.

“Mere allegations of the existence of the above-named requisites, absent proof, cannot be the basis for the issuance of an injunctive writ,” the CA resolution stated.

Moreover, the CA added that the burden of proof is with de Lima. The appellate court, however, clarified that it has not yet decided on her petition for prohibition and certiorari.

In turn, the CA asked the respondents, the complainants, and the five-member DoJ prosecuting panel to comment on the senator’s petition within ten days upon receiving a copy of the resolution.

The appellate court also gave de Lima ten days to respond to the respondents’ comment regarding her petition.

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Nina G. Antonio-Valenzuela. It was concurred by Associate Justices Romeo F. Barza and Edwin D. Sorsogon.

In response to the recent resolution by the Appeals Court denying the senator’s bid for a TRO, Aguirre called de Lima’s petition as “baseless.”

“It only means that her petition has no basis in fact and in law,” Aguirre said in a text message to reporters.

De Lima has been making media rounds this week crying foul in front of the press, stressing that there is an impending arrest warrant against her. The senator even said that she is ready to go jail as she has already packed her clothes.

Even the senator’s allies at the opposition Liberal Party (LP) launched a joint offensive against the Justice Department in what can be seen as an attempt to save her from embarrassment from a possible arrest.

Three LP senators last week insinuated that the DoJ may possibly be using spurious evidence against Sen. de Lima. They also claimed that the cases against de Lima are being used as “political tools, propaganda and smokescreen.”

In response, a furious Aguirre blasted what Mr. Duterte’s allies call as the “yellows” for making “irresponsible” statements against the DoJ.

Roque hits DoJ delay on raps

Before the DoJ filed the charges, Deputy Minority Leader Harry L. Roque had threatened to file a resolution to conduct an investigation on the delay in the DoJ’s filing of drug trafficking charges against de Lima.

“I want to file a resolution to look into the delay in the filing of cases against Senator de Lima. She really has to be jailed soonest less she wrecks further havoc in Philippine society,” Roque said.

“The DOJ should prove that there are no sacred cows, even if that cow is a former secretary of the DOJ itself,” he added.

Roque said he feels that given the abundance of evidence against De Lima, the DOJ is taking too long in filing charges against the former justice secretary.

He said De Lima can have all the notoriety she wants as a liar and as having benefitted from the drug trade as testified to by at least 10 witnesses in the House investigation

“Hers is a notoriety that we do not seek to have. She can gloat in her infamy by her lone self,” he said.

Roque recently lodged an ethics complaint against De Lima for colluding with Kabayan second nominee Ron Salo to oust him from the House of Representatives and for lying about her relationship with her former security aide Ronnie Dayan. Angie M. Rosales


TRIBUNE

DoJ chief: Leila no political prisoner; Dela Rosa offered PNP Custodial Care Center, Camp Crame to De Lima Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 19 February 2017 00:00 By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora and Charlie V. Manalo

BATO OFFERS PNP FACILITY TO DE LIMA

Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima should disabuse her mind that she may become a “political prisoner,” based on her claim, since cases filed against her are all criminal in nature, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.

Aguirre added the cases filed by the Department of Justice (DoJ) against its former head and now senator were not politically motivated.

“(The) Some of these cases involved illegal drugs. They are not politically motivated,” Aguirre said in a statement yesterday.Aguirre said the charges against her have nothing to do with her political stand.

“Drug cases do not involve one’s political beliefs. It involves one’s choice to be involved in illegal drugs,” he said, adding that he inhibited himself from the raps filed against de Lima.

De Lima’s Liberal Party (LP) said the DoJ was engaging in “purely political vendetta” that “has no place in justice system that upholds the rule of law” in filing the charges against de Lima.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa also offered yesterday the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City to de Lima, if ever an arrest order is issued by the court against her.

READ MORE...

Dela Rosa made the offer a day after the DOJ filed charges against de Lima for violation of Republic Act No. 9165, or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002”, before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) for her alleged involvement in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) drugs trade scandal.

Dela Rosa said that the PNP Custodial Center was the safest detention facility in the country and that he could assure the personal security of de Lima there.

Among the known personalities who are now currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center are former Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. for their alleged involvement in the multi-million peso pork barrel scam.



Aguirre said the Muntinlupa RTC has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the three cases filed, regardless of the high position of de Lima as respondent.

”On the matter of jurisdiction, it is the RTC that has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the three cases, regardless of the high position of the respondent. Trading in illegal drugs has no connection with the performance of her duties as Secretary of Justice,” he said.

Aguirre also cited that De Lima and his other predecessors in the agency have done the same during their term when they prosecuted several high-ranking officials such as former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos and Commissioner Alfredo Benipayo and former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos.

Apart from De Lima, those named as her co-accused are her former bodyguard and driver Ronnie Dayan and her nephew Jose Adrian Dera, each facing two counts.

Her other co-accused charged with one count each are former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Franklin Jesus Bucayu; Bucayu’s alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli; high-profile Bilibid inmate Jaybee Sebastian; National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director Rafael Ragos; and de Lima’s former aide Joenel Sanchez.

The charges were filed after the DOJ panel of prosecutors also issued a 52-page resolution dated February 14 on the consolidated criminal complaints filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC); the NBI; former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Rule Lasala; and high-profile Bilibid inmate and self-confessed drug trader Jaybee Sebastian.

In the resolution, the DOJ prosecutors dismissed the complaint against Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III for “insufficiency of evidence.”

Prosecutors also dismissed the complaints against high-profile Bilibid inmates Herbert Colanggo, Engelberto Durano, Vicente Sy, Jojo Baligad and Wu Tuan Yuan, also known as Peter Co, since “they will be utilized as Prosecution witnesses.”

On the other hand, prosecutors “endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman for its appropriate action” the criminal complaints against de Lima for violating RA 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; RA 6713, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; Presidential Decree (PD) No. 46, known as the Act Punishing the Receiving and Giving of Gifts of Public Officials and Employees; and direct bribery and indirect bribery under the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

In the same resolution, the DOJ prosecutors, on Aguirre’s instruction, were directed to conduct further investigation on the alleged extortion activities of religious pastor Danilo Rico inside the NBP; Dera’s alleged kidnapping of Peter Co’s niece Sally in March 2016; and the illegal drug activities and related offenses committed by self-confessed drug trader Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa.

The resolution approved by Prosecutor General Victor Sepulveda was signed by the DOJ panel of prosecutors composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, Assistant State Prosecutor Editha Fernandez, and Senior Assistant City Prosecutors Alexander Ramos, Leilia Llanes and Evangeline Viudez-Canobas.

Ex-FG twits Leila


Bakit blooming? Gloria Arroyo with husband Mike Arroyo reveals secret to radiant looks 70 -If former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo looks radiant nowadays, it’s because she’s finally free to do what she wants after being released from hospital detention last July. Facing the media for the first time as Deputy Speaker Monday (Sept. 5), Arroyo was complimented by a reporter for being “blooming” just over a month after regaining her freedom. PHOTO FROM POLITICS.COM

Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo yesterday chastised Senator Leila de Lima for claiming she could be the first political prisoner under the Duterte administration saying that unlike other political detainees, she will not be spending time in jail for her political beliefs but for her alleged criminal activities in the proliferation of illegal drug trades in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her stint as Justice Secretary.

“De Lima claims she will be “the first political prisoner under the Duterte regime. How can that be?” Mr. Arroyo posted in his social media account.

“Political prisoners are in jail because of their political beliefs, i.e. communists when communism was still outlawed,” the former first Gentleman stressed.

The other day, de Lima released a statement saying she had long prepared herself to be the first “political prisoner” under the Duterte administration for her staunch opposition to the government’s violent war on drugs.

This was after she was charged before the Muntinlupa Trial Court for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 over her alleged involvement in the NBP drug trade adding she already expected the filing of charges and that her lawyers will file the corresponding motions when the cases are raffled.


“I have long prepared myself to be the first political prisoner under this regime, because the criminal charges and prosecution are nothing less than a politically motivated act by the Duterte regime to clamp down on any vocal opposition against its support for a policy of EJK (extrajudicial killings) in dealing with suspected criminals,” she said. HEADLINE: De Lima ready to be first 'political prisoner' under Duterte admin Published February 17, 2017 4:14pm - GMA NEWS NETWORK

“I have long prepared myself to be the first political prisoner under this regime, because the criminal charges and prosecution are nothing less than a politically motivated act by the Duterte regime to clamp down on any vocal opposition against its support for a policy of EJK (extrajudicial killings) in dealing with suspected criminals,” de Lima said.

“Perhaps my looming imprisonment based on false charges filed against me by the DOJ, while Janet Lim Napoles’s release is being supported by the OSG (Office of the Solicitor General), is the wakeup call that our country needs,” de Lima said.

De Lima had been pointed to by confessed drug lord-inmates at the NBP as the one who allegedly gave the go-signal for them to engage in drug trafficking to raise funds for her senatorial run through her lover-driver, Ronnie Dayan.

In view o the nature of the charges filed against her, the former First Gentleman refused to accord her the title political prisoner.

“De Lima is not yet a prisoner. Neither will she be in jail because of her political beliefs but because of her criminal activities in the proliferation of drugs,” said Mr. Arroyo.

Raps illegal — LP



Dismissing the filing of three drug-related charges against de Lima as “illegal”, LP senators appealed for “total impartiality in the dispensation of justice” for their embattled party-mate.

In a joint statement released by the LP, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Senator Francis Pangilinan and Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon (composite
photos above with De Lima)
  said “the Sandiganbayan, not the RTC, has jurisdiction over the case as the alleged wrongdoings were supposedly committed when she was Justice Secretary.”

Cases against public officers cognizable by the Sandiganbayan falls under the Office of the Ombudsman.

Surfacing strong, the three asserted that this filing before the RTC is clearly “illegal” and “an attempt to undermine our court processes”.

In the statement, the LP members branded the drug raps as “an underhanded maneuver meant to go after critics, regardless of legal bases or processes.”

Should the warrant of arrest be served, the statement said it would be a clear violation of legal proceedings and is therefore a violation of de Lima’s Constitutional right to due process.

Disposing their position, the group believed Senator De Lima has been pre-judged before any of the charges were filed “as no less than the President vowed to destroy her in public and was sure De Lima would land in jail before any case was filed.”

By this reason, the three urged DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, being the alter ego of the President, to inhibit in any and all cases filed against the lady senator.
Aquino, Pangilinan and Drilon appealed for “total impartiality in the dispensation of justice.”

------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Human Rights Watch: Drop politically motivated charges vs De Lima By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated February 19, 2017 - 12:19pm 4 211 googleplus0 0


Sen. Leila De Lima may be arrested within days over drug charges. STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File

MANILA, Philippines — An international human rights group slammed President Rodrigo Duterte's administration and said the drug charges against Sen. Leila De Lima was politically motivated.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the current administration “seems intent on using the courts to punish prominent critics of its murderous ‘war on drugs,’” which left over 7,000 people killed.

“The prosecution of Senator Leila de Lima is an act of political vindictiveness that debases the rule of law in the Philippines,” HRW Deputy Asia Director Phelim Kine said.

“The politically motivated case against de Lima shows how Duterte‘s ‘war on drugs’ threatens not only the thousands of people targeted, but the criminal justice and political systems,” he said.

On Friday, the Department of Justice filed in court three separate drug raps against De Lima and seven others in connection with the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). These charges may result in her arrest and detention without bail.

HRW cited that the government harassed and intimidated De Lima for her outspoken criticism of Duterte’s “war on drugs” and her demands for accountability for the thousands of Filipinos killed by police since the anti-drug campaign launched by the government.

It added that De Lima’s probe when she was the chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights exposed a torrent of harassment and intimidation from the president and other government officials.

Apart from Duterte, HRW noted that pro-Duterte senators accused De Lima of being biased against the president which led to her ousting as the Senate panel chair.

Prior to Duterte’s term, De Lima has already been opposing his alleged human rights violations. Her investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings perpetrated by suspected “Davao Death Squad” members supposedly led by then mayor Duterte started when she was still a Commission on Commission on Human Rights chair and justice secretary.

Due to this, the HRW urged Philippine authorities to immediately drop the “political motivated charges” against De Lima.

“It’s more important than ever that concerned lawmakers and foreign governments step up to denounce the Duterte administration’s disregard for basic human rights,” Kine concluded.

De Lima might face her detention within days. She, however, remains unfazed and said she would not be silenced.

------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Groups back De Lima amid reported threat to arrest her By: Maila Ager - Reporter / @MAgerINQINQUIRER.net / 11:13 AM February 17, 2017
00:12 / 03:36

At least 13 groups in a coalition called “One for Leila” issued a manifesto on Friday “condemning in the strongest terms” a reported threat to arrest Senator Leila de Lima for her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

“We reject and condemn in the strongest terms the threat of imminent arrest of Senator Leila de Lima in what is another attempt to silence the fiercest critic of the Duterte administration,” the group said in a one-page manifesto distributed to media in Quezon City on Friday.

READ: Solon seeks De Lima expulsion from Senate

“This is clearly in violation of the Constitution and due process given that the accusations against her are baseless,” the group added.

“The political persecution and harassment of Senator De Lima, which include the trumped-up charges and fabricated lies against her, no matter how vicious and incessant, won’t still be enough to cover up for this administration’s failed war on drugs, which has put the country in darkness and has taken more than 7,000 lives, including children and innocent civilians.”

The groups also urged the Filipino people to remain vigilant against what they claimed as “abuse of power” by the present administration “fueled by one man’s caprices and personal vendetta,” an apparent reference to President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: De Lima may find herself held along with Estrada, Revilla - Lacson

“We believe that this is not just one woman’s fight but a fight for democracy, justice, and rule of law,” the manifesto added.

The 13 groups under the “One for Leila” are: Aksyon, Akbayan Party-list, Akbayan Youth, Alitaptap, Democratic Warriors, Edsa Pro-Democracy, #EveryWoman, Democratic Alliance Movement of the Philippines (DAMPI)-International, Filipino Advocates for Intgetrity, Transparency and Honor or (Faith), the Silent Majority, QC UNited, STDLK, PPVR-Marikina, and PPVR-Mandaluyong. CBB/rga

 
https://youtu.be/uSb5uyFp4fI?t=31
Groups back De Lima amid reported threat to arrest her INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net Published on Feb 16, 2017 At least 13 groups in a coalition called “One for Leila” issued a manifesto on Friday “condemning in the strongest terms” a reported threat to arrest Senator Leila de Lima for her alleged involvement in illegal drugs. Video and editing by RYAN LEAGOGO


GO TO > > HEADLINE NEWS PAGE ONE

GO TO > > NEXT HEADLINE NEWS

GO TO >> PRESIDENT DU30 NEWS THIS PAST WEEK

GO TO > > BUSINESS PAGE

GO TO > > PHNO TRAVEL/LFESTYLE/FOOD

GO TO >> SHOWBIZ CHATTER


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

 EMAIL:  PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE 
© Copyright, 2017 All rights reserved


BACK TO PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE