De Lima describes as ‘ironic’ Duterte’s statement vs Ombudsman
“Mr. President, who are you to cry foul about selective justice?”
This was the question raised by Senator Leila De Lima in reaction to the complaint of President Rodrigo Duterte on the alleged “selective justice” of the Office of the Ombudsman.
De Lima said the President’s statement against the Ombudsman was “ironic” amid the killings under the government’s war on drugs.
“As the poor and the defenseless are dying in the streets, while the rich, powerful and influential are shielded from the shoot-from-the-hip brand of ‘justice’ that has taken the life of thousands of victims, including minors like Kian Loyd delos Santos, there is great and morbid irony in hearing the President complain about ‘selective justice’ in his tirades against OMB (Ombudsman Conchita Carpio) Morales and CJ (Chief Justice Maria Lourdes) Sereno,” De Lima said in a statement.
The senator said that the President complained about two senators who were “victims of selective justice” by Morales.
Duterte on Tuesday slammed Morales for her “selective justice” saying “the Office of the Ombudsman has mastered the art of selective justice – hard on some, soft on others.”
Duterte said this in a speech before newly appointed government officials in Malacañang.
The President also accused the Office of the Ombudsman of being “slow to act on complaints against the friendly but quick to decide against perceived hostiles.”
De Lima fired back saying “only in the President’s skewed definition of ‘justice’ are these rich, influential and powerful men the poster boys for injustice.”
However, contrary to what De Lima said, Duterte criticized Morales for its slow handling of the cases against lawmakers implicated in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
“Bakit ang Ombudsman, matagal na siya diyan, natapos na si (Why is the Ombudsman, she’s been there for so long, the case had ended against Benigno) Aquino (III), why can’t they just wind up the cases against the senators?” Duterte said during a speech in Malacañang on Tuesday.
According to De Lima, the President “would prefer that suspects be given swift justice.”
“Clearly, Duterte would prefer that suspects be given swift justice – but something tells me that, in the case of these two senators with whom he is obviously sympathetic, he would likely prefer that they be given their freedom despite the ongoing trial,” the senator said.
“A trial that he, as a former prosecutor, ought to know could be very complicated given the length of time the scam they allegedly participated in was ongoing, the volumes of documents and the number of witnesses (including, presumably expert witnesses) involved,” De Lima added.
De Lima also accused the President of “twisting the facts to suit his narrative” which, she added, required two things, “the eradication of independence in independent offices” and “his diversion from major issues such as his inability to solve the drug problem.”
“Since I would not make the mistake of underestimating the President’s credentials as a lawyer, I can only surmise that he twists the facts to suit his narrative – and his narrative requires two things,” she said.
“First, the eradication of the concept of ‘independence’ in our independent institutions and offices, like the Office of the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court, which is why he wants to hasten the removal from office of two women who dare to hold on to their independence, integrity and impartiality in the face of a President who expects and demands blind loyalty and kowtowing from everyone,” the senator added.
De Lima also noted Duterte’s “admission that he cannot cull corruption from his own ranks” including agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
“Second, he needs to divert attention from the major issues that he should be addressing, such as his admission of his inability to solve the drug problem, even despite the thousands of lives that have already been sacrificed at the altar of his bloody ‘war on drugs;’ his admission that he cannot cull corruption from his own ranks, including within the PNP who are at the forefront of the ‘war on drugs,’ and in key institutions like the Bureau of Customs, where the name of his son has – once again – been linked in smuggling activities; or the continuing creeping encroachment and invasion by China into disputed territories,” she said.
More than the irony in the President’s complaint, De Lima said there is an “evil genius behind it.”
“Clearly, he sees the writing on the wall: the day will come when he and his men will have to answer for their sins,” the senator said.
“When that day comes, he is making sure that the Ombudsman and the Judiciary are in his pocket. Until then, Duterte will use everything in his power to misdirect the people’s attention, she added. JPV
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