I HAVE been appalled and outraged by the manner Sen. Leila de Lima has been persecuted by the administration on trumped-up charges of drug trafficking activities initiated by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, causing her to be incarcerated for more than a year already.
The Department of Justice actively shunted off the Office of the Ombudsman (which is independent and cannot be controlled by the President) and caused the filing in court of a charge of drug trafficking against Sen. De Lima – a non bailable offense - based on testimonies of felons convicted of murder, robbery, kidnapping and trading in illegal drugs.
Sometime in December 2017, a panel of prosecutors in the Department of Justice signed a resolution recommending the dismissal of the drug cases against Cebuano businessman Peter Lim and self-confessed drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa, one of the key witnesses against Sen. Leila de Lima. The recommendation, already prepared and signed in December 2017 was kept under wraps and was not known to the public were it not for a media reporter who got a copy of the document a few weeks ago.
The resolution recommending the dismissal of the charges against Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa caused a public uproar and created a firestorm of protests among citizens. Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre clumsily feigned ignorance on the panel’s recommendation of dismissal. Either the secretary is lying or he is just incompetent if he is telling the truth.
As part of damage control, another panel of prosecutors was formed to review the findings of the first panel. Either way, it has created the impression that the war on drugs is a farce with the influential and powerful being given due process while the poor are being slaughtered with impunity.
Secretary Aguirre has continued with his outrageously unjust and shocking moves. In May 2017, Mr. Aguirre announced that the Department of Justice will reopen the probe into the pork barrel scam, and the possibility of Janet Napoles becoming a state witness.
Recently, the papers carried the news that Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David met with Secretary Aguirre for “exploratory talks” on the pork barrel cases, ostensibly a preliminary step in making Janet Napoles a state witness, and to implicate opposition senators Frank Drilon, Leila de Lima, and Antonio Trillanes in the pork barrel scam.