Lawmaker doubts DOJ has the goods on De Lima
A MEMBER of the House committee on justice investigating the proliferation of drugs in the national penitentiary has raised doubts on whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) has evidence to prove the alleged links of Sen. Leila de Lima to the drug trade.
Dinagat Island Rep. Kaka Bag-ao yesterday said the DOJ had yet to credibly establish De Lima’s links to the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) instead of resorting to threats such as showing a supposed sex video of the legislator.
“They still haven’t proven the issue of her connection to drugs, which is the fundamental issue. They are destroying the character of the person in public. We know the process in Congress is political. It’s not a legal prosecution. It hasn’t begun yet, you are already persecuted. You are being painted as immoral or you can make mistakes, and that’s so much easier to do to a woman,” Bag-ao said in Filipino in an interview on dzBB radio.
Bag-ao was the second lawmaker to raise the question of whether or not the DOJ could prove De Lima’s link to the proliferation of drugs in the NBP and if she tolerated and profited from it.
Aid President’s war
Last week, Cebu City Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa, also a House justice committee member, raised concerns the investigation appeared to be aiding “President Duterte’s war against De Lima.”
Abellanosa said Congress might miss the chance to truly get to the bottom of the illegal drugs trade because it was putting too much focus on De Lima’s alleged involvement.
Abellanosa said the affidavits of the convicts, tapped by the DOJ as witnesses, contained details about the drug trade in the NBP but instead of expounding on them, they all deviated to stories about De Lima.
Bag-ao said the legislators would continue to have their colleagues sign the collective statement they issued on Friday objecting to the showing of the supposed video at the continuation of the House investigation.
13 men signed
As of yesterday, Bag-ao said 48 legislators had signed the statement, 13 of them men.
“My only message to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez III… This is not between you and us. This is not about you. This is for every woman who is being accused, whoever she is. She cannot be the subject of persecution,” Bag-ao said in the interview.
Alvarez had said the video could be shown to establish the relationship between De Lima and her driver, Ronnie Dayan, her alleged conduit and bagman at the NBP.
The congressional hearing has been moved to Oct. 6 due to the plenary deliberations on the 2017 national budget, according to House committee on justice chair Reynaldo Umali.
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