DOJ on probe call vs ex-secretaries: De Lima’s free to do what she wants
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday said Leila De Lima has rights and is free to do what she wants as long as they are within the law, as the former senator called for an investigation of ex-justice secretaries Vitaliano Aguirre II and Menardo Guevarra.
DOJ spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano noted they are not in a position to stop de Lima “if she does things that are well within her rights.”
“You know, she has her rights, and we’re not going to… She’s at liberty to do what she wants. So, you know, the justice system, it worked for her, and I believe it will work again. That’s always been our stance. We have a working justice system. So if she does things that are well within her rights, who are we to stop [her]?” Clavano said in an ambush interview in Malacañang.
De Lima appealed for an investigation against Aguirre and Guevarra after the Court of Appeals ruled in her favor that the Ombudsman’s decision to dismiss her administrative complaints against Aguirre and Guevarra was baseless.
De Lima was justice secretary during the administration of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, while Aguirre and Guevarra served as justice secretaries during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
De Lima was incarcerated on drug charges during Duterte’s time and allowed to post bail recently following successive retractions of supposed witnesses against her. One of the three-drug cases filed against her was dismissed, while another case acquitted her.
The former senator has called for an all-out probe into the roles of Aguirre and Guevarra in her detention.
Asked about what De Lima’s plea means to the integrity of the DOJ, Clavano said it would be best to leave it to the proper authorities.
“There are always two sides to the same coin. She may have her claims. But on the other side, the former Justice Secretaries have also had their stance on the issue. There’s, they claim there’s no irregularity. On the other side, there’s a claim of irregularity, so we’ll just have to leave it to the proper forums,” he said.