Robredo hits filing of raps vs De Lima: Disregard for rule of law
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo came to the defense of her party mate Senator Leila de Lima, saying the government is “disregarding the rule of law for political persecution” by filing drug charges against the former justice secretary.
Robredo raised concern over the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s filing of criminal charges against its former chief for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison during her stint in the DOJ.
“Nakakabahala kasi lumalabas na parang political persecution siya. Kung ganito kasi para na natin isinisantabi ang rule of law (It’s alarming because it appears as political persecution. It as if we are disregarding the rule of law),” Robredo said in an ambush interview at Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday.
Robredo, De Lima’s fellow member of the Aquino administration-backed Liberal Party (LP), said the ongoing persecution of De Lima might cause a chilling effect on any individual vocal in criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte and his policies.
The Vice President, who is also critical of some of Duterte’s policies including the rampant drug killings and the restoration of the death penalty, said if the accusations against De Lima were indeed true, due process should still be afforded to her.
“Kung nagkasala, imbestigahan pero siguruhin na ang tamang proseso pagdaanan. Pero kung wala pang kaso may judgment na, ano iyong assurance natin na (If she has committed a sin, she should be investigated but she must undergo due process. But if a case has not yet been filed, yet there is already the judgment, what is our assurance that) she will be afforded the due process of law?” Robredo said.
“Baka magkaroon ito ng chilling effect sa mga taong di sang-ayon sa polisiya ng gobyerno (It might have a chilling effect on people who don’t agree on the government policies),” she added.
The DOJ filed three drug charges against De Lima and others for violation of the Republic Act no. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court.
Aside from Robredo, LP Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Franklin Drilon and Francis Pangilinan spoke out against the Duterte administration’s move, calling De Lima’s drug charges “trumped up.”
They also called the imminent arrest warrant against De Lima as “illegal.”/rga
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