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Guilt by picture-taking challenged in Senate

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 01:32 AM December 06, 2016
EVIDENCE? Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV appraises the value of a picture of Sen. Leila de Lima taken in Baguio City during the Senate committee hearing. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

EVIDENCE? Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV appraises the value of a picture of Sen. Leila de Lima taken in Baguio City during the Senate committee hearing. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

If selfies with drug lords are enough to prove one’s link to the illegal drug trade, then President Duterte is guilty too, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

At the resumption yesterday of the Senate inquiry into allegations that Sen. Leila de Lima received drug money, Trillanes presented photos of Mr. Duterte with Cebuano businessman Peter Lim, who has been named by confessed drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa as one of the country’s top drug lords.

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“If we are going to [resort] to guilt by picture-taking, then we already caught President Duterte because he is shaking hands with the biggest drug lord,” Trillanes said in making a point that photos of De Lima with Espinosa taken at Burnham Park in Baguio City in November last year should not be used to pin her down.

“So now, are we ready to use pictures as a sign of guilt? If we are going to be consistent, that is the prime suspect,” Trillanes said in referring to the photos of Mr. Duterte and Lim, which appeared to have been taken on two occasions.

Inconsequential

He said many would dismiss the pictures of the President with the country’s alleged biggest drug lord as inconsequential, so the photo of De Lima with Espinosa should also be given the same treatment.

The controversial photo was purportedly taken when the confessed drug lord personally met with De Lima at Burnham Park to confirm that Dayan was indeed giving her the cash he was giving as “protection money.”

“It should go both ways. It’s not right to use such photos if you are a political enemy and dismiss them if you are a political ally,” Trillanes said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the head of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, argued that the photos were two different cases because of the testimonies of Espinosa and Ronnie Dayan against De Lima. Dayan is a former bodyguard, driver and lover of De Lima.

Difference of photos

“This is just an addendum … the difference between the two photos is that Espinosa has a statement under oath and Dayan also has a statement that corroborates that someone is receiving money,” Lacson said.

He said Mr. Duterte’s photo with Lim would only become compelling if and when the latter issued an affidavit saying that he gave money to the President through his special assistant, Bong Go.

“If Bong Go also has a statement that he gave the money to Mr. Duterte, I think an impeachment proceeding is in order. But we are not in that situation,” Lacson said.

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If there would be such sworn statements from Lim and Go, he also vowed that he himself would vote to impeach Mr. Duterte.

WHAT’S THE STORYLINE? Photos of President Duterte (right)with the country’s alleged biggest drug lord, Peter Lim, in Cebu City and of Sen. Leila de Lima (left) with Eastern Visayas’ confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa in Baguio City should be inconsequential in the Senate committee investigation into extrajudicial killings in the bloody government campaign against illegal drugs, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

WHAT’S THE STORYLINE? Photos of President Duterte (right)with the country’s alleged biggest drug lord, Peter Lim, in Cebu City and of Sen. Leila de Lima (left) with Eastern Visayas’ confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa in Baguio City should be inconsequential in the Senate committee investigation into extrajudicial killings in the bloody government campaign against illegal drugs, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

“I am speaking not as an enabler or apologist of Mr. Duterte. I criticize when there is a need to criticize. I am only trying to point out that the picture per se, we can interpret what we see there but there are some circumstances that we don’t see in the picture,” he said.

Case buildup

Coming to the defense of the President, the Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa said at the hearing that Mr. Duterte immediately ordered to build a case against Lim after he was informed that the businessman was named by Espinosa as among the top drug lords.

“After Espinosa issued a statement that Peter Lim was his supplier, I reported to the President that his kumpare in the picture [is being implicated] and he ordered a case buildup against Lim,” Dela Rosa said.

“The President is very angry with that Peter Lim. So his instruction was to work on it, build a case against him,” he added.

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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Bato de la Rosa, Bong Go, campaign against illegal drugs, Christopher Go, drug lords, guilt by picture-taking, Kerwin Espinosa, Leila de Lima, Panfilo Lacson, Peter Lim, Rodrigo Duterte, Ronald De La Rosa, Ronnie Dayan, selfies with drug lords, Senate hearing on illegal drugs, war on drugs
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