Senator Leila De Lima is escorted by police as she emerges from her hearing in Muntinlupa court on November 16, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
MANILA – Senator Leila de Lima, arrested on Monday, criticized the Justice Department (DOJ) for asking a Muntinlupa court to cite her and her lawyer contemptuously, asserting her “constitutional right to an open and public trial.”
Prosecutors previously filed a motion for indirect contempt against De Lima and her attorney Boni Tacardon for allegedly violating the court’s sub-judice rule after telling the media a series of developments over hearing the senator’s illegal drug cases had communicated.
“The DOJ wants to silence me and my lawyers on these cases because they know they are conducting a witch hunt and trial by burning at the stake,” De Lima said in a statement.
“When slander and outright lies, they all want publicity … If the truth comes out, they want to choke me and keep the testimonies to myself and prove I’m innocent,” she said.
(When it comes to dirtying me or lies they want full publicity … but when it comes to the truth they want to silence me and make sure that testimonies to my case and innocence are kept as secrets.)
De Lima, a former DOJ secretary and chair of the human rights commission, said it was her right to “expose” lies thrown against her.
“It is well known that even before the trial in my cases and in the early stages of the trial, Mr. Duterte spat out lies about my alleged drug links and openly and repeatedly anticipated my guilt,” De Lima said.
“Now tell me – don’t I have the right to expose these lies with the testimony of witnesses and Duterte’s own witnesses?” She said.
Prosecutors contemptuously quoted De Lima and her lawyer after the senators’ camp informed the media that the prosecution did not introduce Sally Serrano, allegedly a niece of convicted drug lord Peter Co, for the third time.
De Lima’s camp had also questioned several changes made in the affidavit of convicted drug lord Jaybee Sebastian, who allegedly died in prison in July of COVID-19.
The city’s deputy prosecutor Darwin Cañete admitted to reporters that the idea of derisively quoting De Lima came from a pro-Duterte blogger.
“There is only one reason a government and its law enforcement agency, in this case the DOJ, would like our camp not to be revealed to the public, especially the key points or truths that emerged from my attorneys’ cross-examination of witnesses surrendered to law enforcement, “said De Lima.
“It is supposed to hide the process from the public. It is supposed to deny the transparency of the conduct of the process. It is supposed to hide from the world the production and production of evidence and testimony that will be used to convict the innocent. It is supposed to make a kangaroo. ” Court from the judiciary. “
De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Quezon City since 2017 for allegedly profiting from illegal drug trafficking in the national prison.
The opposition senator has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying she was politically persecuted for investigating possible human rights abuses committed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s stepped-up campaign against illegal drugs.
In January 2020, the Supreme Court rejected De Lima’s petition attempting to stop Duterte’s verbal attacks against her, citing the president’s immunity from lawsuits.
De Lima claimed that while cases cannot be brought against a seated president, Duterte’s tirades should continue to be viewed as illegal as they were made outside of his official conduct.
However, the Supreme Court denied her request, saying the president’s immunity did not recognize qualifications.
Leila de Lima, Justice Department, DOJ, Contempt, Boni Tacardon, Senate, Illicit Drugs, Political Persecution, Politics