Filipinos should heed Morales’ call to weaponize truth – De Lima

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Filipino people to heed former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ call to weaponize the truth by exposing the lies and deceptions of certain senatorial candidates and their enablers.

De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the present administration, underscored the need to stop tolerating the Duterte administration and its puppets from undermining the rule of law by demonizing critics, distorting facts and peddling lies.

“What a powerful and relevant message coming from former Ombudsman Morales. Sadly, we have a government now with a propensity to weaponize the rule of law against its critics and dissenters. Lies, distortion of facts and alternative truth are an anathema to efficient functioning of the rule of law,” she said.

“Truth ought to be the very foundation of the rule of law. Let us weaponize the truth against those who arrogantly and deceptively assert their innocence from wrongdoings, including some senatorial candidates,” she added.

In a forum held last April 22, Morales said that truth “should be weaponized” to prevent candidates and their supporters “from running if the wheels of justice seem derailed or too slow to catch them.”

According to her, Filipinos should not hesitate to shame candidates who “remain scot-free” “in spite of their mayhem” – evidently alluding to former senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile – if it means revealing their true intention in running for senators.

In June 2014, plunder and graft cases were filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, then headed by Morales, before the Sandiganbayan against Revilla, Estrada, Enrile and other lawmakers for their involvement in the multi-million-peso pork barrel scam.

As then head of the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGC), Morales oversaw the investigation on the anomalies involving the three senators and other lawmakers in 2013 based on the evidence forwarded by then justice secretary De Lima and the National Bureau of Investigation’s Special Task Force.

It was during De Lima’s stint as justice secretary during the Aquino administration that a fact-finding probe on the alleged misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by lawmakers, in connivance with Janet Napoles, was made. Revilla, Estrada and Enrile were part of the first batch of cases endorsed by the DOJ/NBI to the Office of the Ombudsman.

“Mr. Revilla and Estrada are classic examples of individuals who continue to preach about their supposed innocence. But if we go by facts, I doubt that anyone will still accept their lies as truth,” said De Lima.

De Lima, a vocal critic of the Duterte administration’s human rights abuses, called on every Filipino to work together in weaponizing the truth to ensure that more Filipinos will see through the lies of dubious officials and senatorial candidates.

“As the election day nears, let’s do our best to uphold the truth and expose the lies of individuals, especially senatorial candidates who continue to sow mistruth to sway the Filipino public to vote for them,” said the former justice secretary. “Let us reject dishonest and corrupt candidates by weaponizing the truth against them,” she added. Revilla was acquitted in a 3-2 decision by the Sandiganbayan, while Estrada and Enrile are on bail pending the charges against them in connection with the pork barrel scam.

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