De Lima takes full responsibility for drug suspect imprisonment gaffe
MANILA, Philippines—It’s impossible to monitor all cases at the Department of Justice (DoJ), Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has admitted, as she takes full responsibility for her agency’s lapse causing the more than five-year imprisonment of a drug suspect without any case filed against her.
“As head of the institution, I am the one responsible for everything good or bad,” De Lima told reporters Thursday.
The DoJ Internal Affairs is investigating to find out why the case of Joanne Urbina gathered dust at the justice department for more than five years.
Urbina was arrested in 2007 for violating the Dangerous Drugs Act. Her companion was released a year later but she remained in police custody. She was only release early this month after the Court of Appeals granted her petition for habeas corpus.
“I am still waiting for the result of the internal affairs unit’s investigation to see what kind of sanction they will recommend and who will be sanctioned,” De Lima said.
Prosecution lawyer Gerard Gaerlan, who handled Urbina’s case, has admitted that a mix up of case folders caused the gaffe.
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