De Lima seeks full probe of raps vs 2 ex-DOJ chiefs | Inquirer News

De Lima seeks full probe of raps vs 2 ex-DOJ chiefs

/ 05:40 AM November 27, 2023

De Lima seeks full probe of raps vs 2 ex-DOJ chiefs

Vitaliano Aguirre II and Menardo Guevarra (INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS)

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Leila de Lima on Sunday called for a “full investigation” of former Justice Secretaries Vitaliano Aguirre II and Menardo Guevarra after the Court of Appeals (CA) determined that the Ombudsman dismissed her criminal and administrative complaints against them without due process.

“The wheels of justice continue to turn,” De Lima said, herself a former justice secretary. “I expect the Ombudsman to now conduct a full investigation of both Aguirre and Guevarra or, at the very least, to require Guevarra to answer the administrative aspect of the case and defend his role in propping up criminal convicts as state witnesses even if they are disqualified from being granted immunity under the law.”


She made the call after the CA ordered the Ombudsman on Nov. 21 to investigate De Lima’s complaints against Aguirre and Guevarra, whom she accused of dereliction of duty for admitting felons, convicted of crimes of moral turpitude, as state witnesses.


READ: LOOK: De Lima reunites with her mother Norma in a Cam Sur hospital

Testimonies of convicts

These include the convicted felons Jojo Baligad, Peter Co, Vicente Sy, Hans Anton Tan, Herbert Colangco, Noel Martinez, Froilan Trestiza, Engelberto Durano, Nonilo Arile, Jaime Patcho, and Rodolfo Magleo, who testified that she was complicit in drug trafficking from New Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary.

In her complaints, De Lima argued that Aguirre and Guevarra’s actions violated Republic Act No. 6981, or the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act, as well as Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code, and Section 3(e) of the Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

However, the Ombudsman dismissed the complaints “without even conducting an investigation or asking them to answer the complaint,” De Lima said.

READ: Leila de Lima ekes out growth from adversity

Grave abuse of discretion

The CA sided with De Lima and argued that the appellate court committed grave abuse of discretion when it dismissed the complaints “based on inapplicable exceptions.”

The CA reversal was the latest victory for the beleaguered former senator, who was released on bail on Nov. 13 after spending more than six years in prison. Two of the cases were already junked and De Lima now faces only one remaining drug charge.

The administrative charges were appealed before the CA while the Supreme Court was hearing the criminal aspect of De Lima’s complaint.

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TAGS: De Lima drug cases, Leila de Lima, Menardo Guevarra, Vitaliano Aguirre II

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