De Lima calls House probe ‘Duterte’s kangaroo court’
MANILA, Philippines — Do not count on Sen. Leila de Lima to appear in the President’s “kangaroo court.”
The feisty senator is sticking to her decision not to appear before the House of Representatives’ inquiry into the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prisons under the past administration, saying it is only meant to put her on trial for allegations she has several times denied.
“The House conducting this inquiry to try me before false witnesses is not democracy. The House conducting this inquiry is Duterte’s kangaroo court conducting the Salem witch trials and burning me at the stake,” De Lima said when reached for comment Sunday.
“This is not democracy, this is an inquisition straight from the dark ages,” she said in a text message.
She said the House inquiry, initiated just as she pursued her Senate investigation into the spate of drug deaths amid the President’s bloody war on drugs, had no legitimate purpose that would aid lawmaking, as congressional investigations are meant to be.
“They intended the House inquiry to be my trial in lieu of a court and a judge. There is no legitimate, bona fide agenda, in aid of legislation, that underlie such inquiry except to serve as another forum for demolition,” De Lima said.
She scoffed at Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s statements earlier Sunday, where the Speaker said De Lima can’t just keep on opening her mouth to deny the charges as that is “not how democracy works.”
“As far as I know I am not on trial. No formal complaint has been filed against me. But that is the purpose of their inquiry with all the so-called Bilibid witnesses all lined up to be presented in the House inquiry,” De Lima said.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said last week that six witnesses, among them prisoners, jail guards, and even De Lima’s “friends,” were ready to testify at the House inquiry and show proof that she had received drug money from the illicit prison trade during her time at the Department of Justice.
The DOJ is the mother agency of the Bureau of Corrections, which oversees operations of the NBP.
No less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself had bared De Lima’s alleged links to the drug trade, where he also tagged her former “driver-lover” Ronnie Dayan. The junior senator has denied the charges several times, saying any evidence or witness testimony released against her would be false./rga
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