Dispatch from Crame No. 826: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s reaction to the Justice Secretary’s quip on her bail application


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SOJ Guevarra condescendingly asks why it is only now that I applied for bail. A feigned ignorance of what my drug cases are all about, or what they truly are, is what I sense from him.

We know that these are not ordinary cases. These are cases of political persecution with the whole power of government brought to bear on me. From the very start it is Duterte himself who targetted me and ordered his whole government to throw me in jail by hook or by crook.

It is not therefore farfetched that judges handling my cases will be pressured by the Executive, given that no other than the President has already proclaimed my guilt. This is not to mention promises of appointment to the Court of Appeals, as Duterte can appoint to higher office any judge willing to convict me even on the flimsiest of evidence.

The judges in these cases, past and present—especially in the case of those who refused to determine probable cause independently of the DOJ and proceeded to issue warrants of arrest against me—first had to see the evidence, or lack of it, in full, in all its incredibility, unreliability and absurdity, to see there is absolutely no case against me, so that regardless of any pressure or promise of promotion that will come from Malacañang, any judge will see how difficult it is to accommodate Duterte’s wish, given that the charges have absolutely no leg to stand on.

SOJ Guevarra should ask his own prosecutors, all 10 or 15 of them, what happened in this particular case, People v. De Lima and Dera. He should ask why the charges of conspiracy to engage in drug trading became, in the narrative of their own star witness Peter Co, one for kidnapping for ransom. It became clear that this case was about a ninja cop operation, of PNP officers kidnapping Co’s niece and companions and demanding for ransom. It had absolutely nothing to do with me or my job then as Secretary of Justice. It was purely a rogue PNP operation.

With the full evidence, or lack of it, now before the court, and the testimonies of respectable PNP and NBI officials presented by the prosecution itself—who provided strong evidence of my innocence, testifying in unison that: (a) I have never been a subject of any intel report linking me to the illegal drug trade; and (b) I led successful raid in 2014 to curb illegal drug trade and other illegal activities inside Bilibid—any judge, even with pressure from Malacañang, will now have to rule on my motion on the merits, nothing more and nothing less.

Subliminally, we were waiting for Aguirre’s and Guevarra’s other witnesses—the perjured and coerced ones to come to their senses and retract their lies against me. Without that happening yet, evidently, it’s not yet the right and “safe” time for truth-telling. And we can no longer wait.

Truth may be stalled but never vanquished.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 826, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._826)

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