Palace backs gag order on De Lima
Malacañang has expressed support for moves to stop detained Sen. Leila de Lima, one of President Duterte’s most vocal critics, from publicly discussing the drug charges that led to her imprisonment.
Government prosecutors have asked the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court handling De Lima’s criminal cases to issue a gag order to prevent the senator and other parties, including Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, from talking to the media or the public on the matter.
The President’s chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, backed the idea, saying he wants to prevent De Lima from issuing disparaging remarks against Mr. Duterte.
“Oh yes, because De Lima is using that medium to besmirch the reputation of the President. She cannot do that,” Panelo said over the government-owned Radyo ng Bayan when asked if he agrees with the request for a gag order.
He also agreed with the idea that De Lima’s lawyers may be trying to sway public opinion with regard to the cases filed against her.
“So they should just let the courts try the case. Let the judicial process run its course,” he said.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said it was normal for parties in court cases to be prohibited from discussing these publicly so as not to unduly pressure the judge or sway public opinion.
Abella said there was “nothing new” in the government prosecutors’ request.
“The sub judice rule is a time-honored doctrine,” said Abella.
“Should the court grant the motion, we expect all parties to abide by it to preclude any undue pressure to the judge hearing the cases or any influence that may condition the minds of the public on the merits of the case,” he said.
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