“Iyong nagsasabi na hindi kuwalipikado si Senator Leila de Lima, iyan po ay walang katotohanan, at palagay ko ay paninira lamang iyan sa kanyang kandidatura sa pagka-Senador ng ating bansa.” This is the categorical statement made by prominent election lawyer Atty. Romulo “Romy” Macalintal in an interview, belying false claims by some sinister quarters that opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima cannot seek reelection supposedly because she is currently in detention.
Macalintal, an eminent election lawyer who won Vice President Leni Robredo’s election case filed by then defeated vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos, said that accusations that De Lima is unqualified to run for a Senate post is merely part of a smear campaign against her.
“Sapagkat puwede lamang ma-disqualify ang isang akusado kung mayroon nang desisyon ang Korte Suprema—iyong sinasabi nating final and executory. Ang ibig sabihin, pinal na ang desisyon at ipinatutupad na ng Korte Suprema,” he added.
The issue stems from statements made by De Lima’s detractors after she filed her candidacy for reelection last Oct. 8, and when presidential aspirant Leni Robredo included De Lima in her senatorial slate.
Macalintal also explained that the fact that no one has filed a disqualification case against De Lima proves that the lie-laced statements made by online trolls have no legal ground to stand on.
“Wala naman ako nababalitaan na nagpa-file ng disqualification case laban sa kanya. Kung may disqualification case man na magpa-file sa kanya, nako, sigurado pong dismissed yan kasi yan po’y walang batayan sa ilalim ng ating batas at sa mga umiiral na desisyon ng ating Korte Suprema,” the veteran election lawyer said.
“Maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw na si Senator Leila de Lima ay hindi disqualified na tumakbo… Si Senator Leila de Lima, bagamat siya’y nakakulong, siya po ay pwede ninyong iboto at ang inyong boto ay bibilangin po yan… At sasabihin ko pa sa inyo, ako po ay nakahandang magsauli ng aking lisensya bilang abogado kung walang katotohanan itong aking sinasabi,” Macalintal emphasized.
De Lima, a former election lawyer, encouraged everyone to “be very discerning and vigilant, especially at a time where election frenzy is ramping up.”
“Let us always make it a habit to check the legitimacy or veracity of any piece of information that we read online before believing them. Ngayong papalapit na ang eleksyon, asahan na ang paninira at pagpapakalat ng maling impormasyon ng mga gustong manatili sa poder at ng kanilang mga kasabwat para patuloy na pagtakpan ang kanilang kalokohan at nang hindi sila mapanagot sa hinaharap,” De Lima said.
De Lima filed her Certificate of Candidacy last Oct. 8, sharing that among the reasons she decided to seek reelection include her goal to further advance her five foremost advocacies, namely, Social Justice, Human Rights (which encompass the rights to food, health, balanced ecology and decent standards of living), Criminal Justice Reform, Good Governance and Rule of Law, and National Sovereignty.
The lady Senator from Bicol also said that she would hold Mr. Duterte and his lackeys accountable for the thousands of killings, corruption and other human rights abuses that ran rampant under his administration. (30)