De Lima says prosecution plan to amend charges a sign of weak case
The State prosecutors’ plan to revise the drug trafficking charges they filed against Senator Leila De Lima is an “admission of their lack of evidence,” the senator said on Thursday.
“It is ironic that, on paper, it looks like I lost my case before the Supreme Court. In truth, however, because of my petition, my persecutors have now implicitly admitted that they have no evidence to charge me,” De Lima said in a statement.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II disclosed on Wednesday that the prosecutors’ planned amendment was based on Solicitor General Jose Calida’s position during the oral arguments on De Lima’s petition in the Supreme Court.
Calida said that instead of being charged for violating Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, De Lima should have been charged with violating Section 26.
Section 26 pertains to “any attempt or conspiracy to import, sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, distribute and transport illegal drugs, and maintain a drug den, produce narcotics and cultivate sources of illicit substances.”
Section 5, meanwhile, prohibits the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals.”
De Lima, who has been detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center at Camp Crame, Quezon City since February, said this fact was already made “painfully and starkly obvious” during the earlier oral arguments last March.
“Back then, I, thru my lawyers confronted my persecutors with the fact that there was no allegation, much less proof, of the corpus delicti of the offense of illegal drug trading that I was being charged with,” the senator said.
“No drugs, no proof of the sale thereof. Nothing. Not even proof of the alleged billions of pesos I allegedly received; not even after Aguirre announced in public that I allegedly had hundreds of millions of pesos in banks; and certainly not after he attempted – and failed – to force former employees to falsely testify against me,” she added.
De Lima said the sudden revision on the charges against her was a “glaringly clear, single-minded, over-eagerness to indict her for a crime she did not commit.”
“This is wrong. And this is dangerous. Let no man or woman abide this deed,” the senator said. /jpv
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