by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Another judge handling the drug-related charges against detained Senator Leila de Lima has opted to retire early.
According to the camp of De Lima, Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 256 has filed for an early retirement which will take effect in June or July.
Fabros-Corpuz is the second judge handling De Lima’s case to file for early retirement. First was Judge Patria Manalastas-de Leon of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 206.
Aside from the two who opted to retire early, four judges have previously inhibited themselves from tackling De Lima’s cases for various reasons.
These were Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204, Judge Antonietta Pablo-Medina of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 276, Judge Myra Bayot-Quiambao of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 206 and Judge Lorna Navarro-Domingo of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 206.
Fabros-Corpuz is handling De Lima’s case for conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading filed by the Department of Justice against her, Joenel Sanchez, Ronnie Dayan, Bureau of Corrections director Franklin Bucayu and three others.
With Fabros-Corpuz’s looming retirement, the hearing on one of De Lima’s cases set for June 5 has been postponed.
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) admitted that vote buying was rampant in the recently concluded midterm polls.
As proof, authorities were able to seize more than P12 million from a total of 449 violators over the course of the election.
“Lahat ng nakumpiskang pera ay magsisilbing ebidensya laban sa mga na-apprehend natin na violators,” said PNP Spokesperson Police Col. Bernard Banac.
(All cash confiscated will serve as evidence against the apprehended violators.)
The highest amount seized was in Caraga region amounting to almost P8 million.
Other areas with the most number of vote buying incidents were Northern Mindanao with more than P1 million seized followed by Cagayan Valley (P561,000); Metro Manila (P541,100); and Bicol Region (P449,080).
From the 449 violators, a total of 356 were arrested, 85 persons evaded arrest while eight minors were rescued.
Most of the violators were from Metro Manila, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM); and from Regions 4a and 6.
“Wala pa tayong na-apprehend ngayon na nakakulong na sa vote buying dahil ang mga suspects at violators ay na-release for further investigation,” Banac said.
(None of those apprehended for vote buying were detailed because the suspects or violators were later released for further investigation.)
Appropriate charges were filed against the suspects for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
If proven guilty, they will serve one up to six years jail term and in case of election candidates, they will be disqualified from holding public office.
The PNP is also looking into the possibility of using drug money in vote buying. – (with details from Lea Ylagan) Marje Pelayo
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Monday afternoon cast her vote for the 2019 midterm elections after she was granted furlough by a Muntinlupa court.
Under heavy security, De Lima cast her ballot at Sta. Rita College in Parañaque at past noon.
Nearly 100 policemen from Camp Crame and Parañaque escorted De Lima to the polling center where she spent around 15 minutes.
Police lined the hallway to her precinct and guarded the doors while others were stationed on the school grounds and outside of the gate.
The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 last week granted De Lima’s request for furlough to vote during the elections as allowed under the Commission on Election’s “Escorted Detainee Voting System.”
The court said in its order that De Lima will shoulder all costs for her transport from her detention facility in Camp Crame in Quezon City to her precinct in Parañaque City.
She was also banned from giving any media interviews before and after voting.
According to De Lima’s legal counsel, her client wanted to exercise her right to suffrage and vote for her supported candidates.
“Tuwang-tuwa kami na at least napagbigyan kami [sa] ganitong kahilingan at sana nga ‘yung mga sunod na kahilingan ni Senator De Lima ay mapagbigyan din,” Atty. Boni Tacardon told UNTV News and Rescue in an interview.
The senator, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, was detained since February 2017 over illegal drug-related charges. She was also accused of accepting drug money from convicted drug lords when she was still Justice Secretary.
However, De Lima’s camp had repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting that charges against her are only fabricated in a bid to silence Duterte’s critics. (with details from April Cenedoza)
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