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DOJ manufacturing evidence vs De Lima ‘all talk,’ says Aguirre

/ 12:35 PM November 14, 2016
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre before the Congressional hearing and inquiry on illegal drug trade in National Bilibid Prison, October 10, 2016.NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senator Leila De Lima’s allegation that the Department of Justice (DOJ) manufactured evidence against her is “all talk,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Monday.

Aguirre said De Lima repeatedly made such allegations but failed to present any proof.

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“Her standard defense is that DOJ is manufacturing evidence against her in all fora where she is being accused as the drug protector. Yet, she has not presented any iota of evidence to prove her accusation,” Aguirre told reporters.

Instead of making such allegations, the justice chief said the senator should instead concentrate on responding to the allegations against her.

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The DOJ is expected to issue a subpoena this week against De Lima and the other respondents tagged in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

The DOJ has created a five-man panel to conduct a preliminary investigation and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of case against De Lima and several other respondents.

The panel is headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter L. Ong. Other prosecutors in the team are Senior Assistant City Prosecutor (SACP) Alexander P. Ramos, SACP Leila R. Llanes, SACP Evangeline P. Viudez-Canobas and Assistant State Prosecutor Editha C. Fernandez.

He said that the panel is going to require De Lima to file a counter-affidavit as well as the other respondents.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed complaints against De Lima for violation of Sections 5, 26 (b), and 27 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act 9165), qualified bribery (Revised Penal Code) and Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019), violation of An Act Punishing the Receiving and Giving of Gifts of Public Officials and Employees (Presidential Decree 46) and Section 7 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713).

READ: NBI OKs criminal raps vs De Lima, 17 others

Last Nov. 4, kidnapping convict Jaybee Sebastian, through his wife, filed a third complaint before the DOJ for violations of anti-graft, anti-torture law, code of conduct and ethical standards and indirect bribery against De Lima.

The first case was filed on Oct. 11 by the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC), led by its president Dante Jimenez. The complaint was grounded on the senator’s alleged violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act.

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READ: Anticrime group sues De Lima

Two days later, a second complaint was filed by former NBI officials Reynaldo O. Esmeralda and Ruel M. Lasala, citing the same violation.

Aside from the charges before DOJ, a disbarment complaint was also filed against her last October 28.

Aguirre said the complaints against De Lima are like any ordinary complaints filed at the DOJ.

“The DOJ is just performing its function of investigating criminal complaints against her & co-accused. We are considering her cases as ordinary complaints. She was always acting as if she is someone special and above the law,” Aguirre said. RAM/rga

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TAGS: Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, Department of Justice (DoJ), Illegal drugs, Jaybee Sebastian, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Senator Leila de Lima
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