De Lima laments how Pacquiao defended Paolo for having photos with Dong
Senator Leila de Lima wished Senator Manny Pacquiao had said that photos of an alleged criminal with a public figure do not always mean they are involved in the former’s activities when she was accused of having drug links with Kerwin Espinosa based on a picture.
In her latest dispatch from detention, De Lima lamented how Pacquiao defended Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte during Thursday’s Senate hearing into the corruption and smuggling activities at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Photos of Duterte with Filipino-Chinese businessmen Charlie Tan, his friend and drinking buddy, and Kenneth Dong, were presented during the hearing. Tan and Dong were earlier accused of having a hand in the shipment of the P6.4-billion shipment of drugs from Xiamen, China into the country.
Pacquiao supported Dong’s explanation that public officials’ photos with other people do not necessarily mean they have knowledge on the illegal dealings, if there are any, of each other.
“Hindi ibig sabihin na may picture kasama ka, alam transactions mo (It doesn’t mean that if you are in the same picture, you know each other’s transactions),” he said. Senator Richard Gordon, the Senate blue ribbon committee chairman, also said: “Hindi ibig sabihin guilty na (It doesn’t mean you’re guilty).”
“Thank you, Senator Pacquiao, for pointing out what I have been saying all along. ‘Hindi porke may picture, kasama ka na sa transaksyon nila. It do.’ How I wish you uttered the same thing about the supposed photo of mine with Kerwin Espinosa, a total stranger to me,” De Lima said on Friday.
“Thank you for pointing out that testimonies based on “Sabi nila sa akin (Somebody told me)” should be given no credit and stricken out. Those are exactly the kind of trash ‘evidence’ that the cases against me are based on – from the mouths of convicted felons pa, with an axe to grind and everything to gain from currying favor from the current administration that is so gung-ho on persecuting me,” he said.
One of the pieces of evidence used against De Lima was a photo of her with Espinosa, tagged as the biggest drug lord in Eastern Visayas, during her campaign in Baguio City last year. Espinosa testified in the Senate that he gave P8 million drug money to De Lima on the day the photo was taken.
The senator denies accepting any single centavo from Espinosa, whom she did not know personally.
De Lima said the younger Duterte being playful with Tan, Dong and Davao City Councilor Small Abellera in the photos merits a deeper investigation.
“A single, impersonal photo would not have the same weight, and does not tell a story in the same way as a series of multiple photos that depict the subjects – like those in the case of Polong, Charlie Tan, Kenneth Dong and “Small” – being playful and familiar with each other. Sa dami ng litrato, at mukhang naghaharutan pa, there is cause to delve deeper into the plausibility of Senator Trillanes’s theory that these men are known to and are, in fact, very familiar with one another, more than just drinking buddies,” she said. JPV
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