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    Aguirre open to De Lima’s Senate probe request on Jack Lam bribery scandal

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

    Senator Leila de Lima, as supposed, has the right to appeal to the Senate to investigate into the bribery scandal involving two former Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials.

    Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said it will even help shed light on why is there a large number of foreign national illegally working in the Philippines.

    It can be recalled that Chinese online gambling tycoon Jack Lam allegedly attempted to bribe former BI commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles with P100 million in exchange for the release of over 1,300 Chinese illegal workers arrested in his Fontana Casino in Clark, Pampanga.

    “Para malaman natin kung ano’ng ginawa niya bakit nagkaroon d’yan ng malakihang illegal na mga staying ‘yung mga foreigners? What did she do during her incumbency as secretary of justice? Mayroon bang nag-ninong d’yan sa mga yan?” Sec. Aguirre said.

    (So that we will know what she did why there is a large number of foreigners illegally staying [in Fontana]. What did she do during her incumbency as Secretary of Justice? Do the [Chinese] have a coddler?)

    On the other hand, Sen. De Lima withdrew her resolution filed with the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

    She now wants the Civil Service Committee to conduct the probe for a more extensive investigation.

    “It has to do with the thorough review of structure and systems within the BI, with the end view of precluding, minimizing, if not precluding altogether acts of corruption among its ranks,” said Sen. De Lima.

    De Lima has earlier expressed concern over the President’s allegedly favoring Argosino and Robles.

    Sec. Auirre, however, said investigation of former BI officials should be entrusted to the Office of the Ombudsman.

    “Nagkakaroon lang ng political color kasi parang lumalabas niyan na gumaganti lang siya eh, sa mga finile sa kanya,” Aguirre said.

    (It would only seem that [the Senate inquiry] is politically-motivated because it would appear that she is only retaliating for the cases filed against her.)

    Aside from the Ombudsman, the BI, the DOJ, and the NBI have separate investigations too. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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    Solano’s testimony in Senate can be used as evidence in Atio hazing case – DOJ Aguirre

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

    John Paul Solano

    MANILA, Philippines – The Senate may release Wednesday the testimony of John Paul Solano, the principal suspect in the death of Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

    Solano’s statements should be confidential since it was given in an executive session with the Senators.

    But the Senate last week adopted a resolution that will allow its release if Solano fails to submit a sworn affidavit during the preliminary investigation of the DOJ.

    Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre said this could be a big help to explain Atio’s death in a suspected hazing incident.

    “If it is released, it will shed more light on what really happened during the initiation rites of the Aegis Fraternity,” Aguirre said.

    Aguirre further said the testimony could be used as evidence in the ongoing investigation.

    Solano is the one who brought Atio to the hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

    “Since they decided to release it, there is legal basis for it. Otherwise, why would they release it without any legal basis and if it would be inadmissible,” Aguirre added.

    During the last hearing, Solano’s lawyer asked the DOJ to strike the testimony he had given to Manila Police out from the records of the case,

    Saying it was not properly subscribed to by his client.

    DOJ will resume preliminary investigation on the case next Tuesday. – Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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    Senator Leila de Lima to file motion for reconsideration

    by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

    MANILA, Philippines — In a statement, Senator Leila de Lima said she was dismayed and saddened by the decision of the Supreme Court on the two petitions she filed.

    The senator said that she will continue the fight, further maintaining her innocence in the accusations against her.

    De Lima’s camp is set to file a motion for reconsideration regarding the Supreme Court’s decision.

    Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano, meanwhile, believes the SC’s decision on De Lima’s case is a form of revenge.

    “What is happening is, the law is being forced to agree to the policies of the administration. That’s right. It will further encourage authorities that even without evidence… because imagine a case which is drug trading. How could you be involved in drug trading when they have not recovered any illegal drugs in your possession,” said Alejano.

    In a vote of 9-6 yesterday, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition of De Lima to nullify the arrest against her and to transfer her illegal drug trading charges before the Office of the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan.

    The high tribunal explained that her arrest has a basis and that the anti-graft court has no jurisdiction over cases involving illegal drugs.

    Attorney Marwil Nacor Llasos, a law reform specialist from the University of the Philippines College of Law, is worried over the decision of the country’s high tribunal, noting it seems to show a pattern that one can easily predict.

    Llasos cited as examples the SC’s decision to allow the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the implementation of martial in the entire Mindanao, and lastly, the arrest and detention of the government’s staunch critic, Senator Leila De Lima.

    “The Supreme Court has been so polarized already and I doubt it if it still already based on the hard facts of the law and the facts of the case or there are political realities involved,” said Llasos.

    “In terms of the case of De Lima, the government achieved its purpose which is to silence her, to put her behind bars so none will criticize the actions of the administration.

    However, for House Minority Floor Leader Danilo Suarez, the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of De Lima is appropriate.

    “I’ve seen the menace of drug problem and for 6 years, she should have been at the front against it. But she was the one who was supporting it, so why would you let it escape?” said Suarez.

    Malacañang, on the other hand, refused to comment on the issue. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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    Supreme Court dismisses De Lima’s petition to void her arrest

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

    Senator Leila de Lima

    MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima will remain in detention for drug charges in relation to her alleged link to illegal drug trading inside the New Bilibid Prison.

    Voting 9-6, the Supreme Court dismissed her petition to nullify her arrest and stop the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court from proceeding with her case.

    “The court voted 9-6 to dismiss the petitions in Leila de Lima versus Judge Guerrero. . . there are 12 opinions in all,” Supreme Court Spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te said.

    The decision was penned by Justice Presbitero Velasco Junior and concurred in by Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo and President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointees to the high court, namely, Justices Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo.

    Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno dissented together with Senior Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

    The court said Judge Juanita Guerrero did not gravely abuse her discretion in ordering De Lima’s arrest because there is enough basis to the allegation that she conspired to sell illegal drugs.

    The SC also pointed out that the Regional Trial Court has the sole jurisdiction to try drug-related cases and the Sandiganbayan’s jurisdiction is limited to violations of the anti-graft laws.

    In a Twitter post, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay who represented De Lima in the case, said justice for De Lima is not easy.

    But he said DOJ lawyers are more worried here since they have to establish a case without evidence.

    The SC Spokesman said De Lima can still appeal the ruling.

    “Under the rules, everyone who loses has a recourse to file a motion,” Atty. Te said.

    Solicitor General Jose Calida expressed his gratitude to the justices of the Supreme Court.

    He said the decision is proof that the government’s “war on drugs” is not exclusively targeting the poor.

    Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre said they are vindicated in their position that the RTC has jurisdiction over the cases of De Lima.

    Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, the arraignment and trial of the senator can already proceed. – Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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