Don’t be bullied by Duterte, De Lima tells judiciary
Senator Leila de Lima said Janet Lim Napoles’ acquittal by the Court of Appeals for the crime of serious illegal detention filed by whistleblower Benhur Luy was a “disturbing development” but “expected” nonetheless.
“The acquittal of Janet Lim Napoles is a disturbing development but not so much because of the fact that it was pushed for by Malacañang in the pursuit of its mutant kind of ‘justice,’” the senator said in a statement from her detention on Tuesday.
“We already expected this, by now all too familiar habit of the Duterte regime to enter into exchange deals with convicted criminals, where the lowliest scums are used to frame up political enemies. I know this. I am the first victim of this despicable practice,” she said.
De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center for alleged drug links.
“What worries me more is the possibility of the judiciary succumbing to Malacañang pressures. The day an independent judiciary ceases to act using only the scale of justice and instead allows itself to be dictated upon by the executive is the day we official become a dictatorship. The moment justices of the courts succumb to Malacañang pressures, we also lose the remaining bulwark of our democracy,” she said.
She then appealed to the courts, the judges and justices “not to allow themselves to be bullied by the President into issuing unjust judgments.”
“Like any bully, this one will have his just desserts. And when that time comes, all his collaborators, whether from the legislative, executive or judiciary, will be remembered by their names,” said the senator.
“Our justices are called ‘Justice’ for a reason. They are expected to give justice, especially when there is so much injustice around us. They are not prostitutes to be disrobed inside the bedrooms of Malacañang.”
De Lima also raised the possibility that Napoles would be used against her for her supposed selective prosecution of the pork barrel scam when she was still Justice Secretary during the Aquino administration.
She explained that Napoles was not made a state witness in the PDAF scam cases because she was the most guilty. PDAF is the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund also known as “pork barrel.”
And when they asked her before to identify legislators involved in the scam, De Lima said, Napoles instead asked them who among the senators and congressmen they wanted included in the so-called “pork” list.
“That is when I knew that Napoles cannot be relied upon and is only too willing to fabricate her own testimony to save her skin at the expense of innocent senators and congressmen,” the detained senator said.
“Her extended list of PDAF Scam legislators turned out to be a product of her imagination, without any documented evidence or credible and verifiable accounts of the transactions to support the same.”
“What we found as credible and reliable are the testimonies, with supporting documents, of Benhur Luy and the other whistleblowers. Hence, the successful indictment thus far of certain lawmakers, based on such evidence,” De Lima added.
De Lima said it was not also remote that President Rodrigo Duterte would use Napoles to “blackmail and threaten any remaining opposition in Congress.”
“This whole Mafiosi scheme is as shameless as it is destructive of our political system. It is vintage Duterte,” she further said. IDL/rga
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