DOJ to file petition vs De Lima camp over public statements on drug trial

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2020   •   615

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday said it will file a petition for contempt against the lawyers of detained Senator Leila De Lima for issuing public statements over the trial proceedings of her drug-related cases.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra argued this is in violation of the sub judice rule.

“We do not want to tackle with the media the merits of an ongoing case. Oo kasi that’s really an act that may lead you to be cited for contempt. Nakakaapekto yun sa appreciation of the evidence by the judge who alone has that power,” Guevarra said.

Prosecutor General Ben Malcontento said the petition is expected to be filed by next week.

Last week, De Lima’s legal counsel said in a statement that a prosecution witness testified in a hearing on Friday said he did not give money to help fund De Lima’s senatorial campaign. This, the lawyer said, was in contrary to his previous claim that he contributed money to the senator’s campaign in 2016.

Malcontento asserted that both camps are prohibited from discussing the merits of an ongoing case outside of courts.

“We will just do our legal battle in courts kasi sub judice yan e so we will not do a media war or media battle with lawyers of De Lima,” Malcontento said.

Lawyer Boni Tacardon, the spokesperson of De Lima’s camp, said they will not issue a comment on the plan of Malcontento to cite their team in contempt.

“The defense team opt not to make any comment at this time in deference to the advice of the court to refrain from making any public statements in relation to the case of Sen. De Lima,” Tacardon said in a message to reporters.

“We will just wait for the action of the DOJ and will reply appropriately,” he added.

De Lima has been in detention since 2017 over drug-related charges filed against her before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court.

The senator is facing allegations of abetting illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison during her stint as Justice Secretary from 2010 to 2015. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

PNP welcomes DOJ move to release parts of review on anti-drug campaign

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomed the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make public the summaries of the 52 cases it reviewed in connection with deaths related to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said the DOJ’s move is “consistent with the PNP stand for transparency and accountability in the police organization.”

“We welcome the decision of Department of Justice to release these documents to the public,” he said.

“Simula pa lang ay lubos na ang ating kooperasyon sa DOJ sa pamumuno ni Secretary Menardo Guevarra sa pamamagitan ng ating SILG Eduardo Año, at ipinaubaya na natin sa kanila ang desisyon tungkol sa mga kasong ito in the interest of truth, transparency and justice,” he added.

According to the DOJ, the summaries that will be released will include docket numbers, names of deceased suspects, places and dates of the incidents, and the review panel’s summary of observations on the cases.

The National Bureau of Investigation is set to conduct case buildup for the possible filing of criminal charges against erring police officers.

Eleazar urged the victims’ families to cooperate in holding policemen who committed abuses accountable for their action.

“Ito rin ang pagkakataon para sa mga pamilya ng nasawi sa police anti-illegal drugs operations para sila’y makapagsumite ng complaint-affidavit o kaya’y magharap ng testigo upang maisampa ang kaukulang kasong kriminal sa korte,” he said.

“Tinitiyak ko ang buong pakikipagtulungan ng PNP sa NBI. Walang mangyayaring takipan at ating pananagutin ang may dapat panagutan,” he added.

He also reminded PNP personnel to strictly follow the Police Operational Procedures to avoid problems in performing their mandate.

“Let this serve as a lesson to all our personnel that as police officers, we are law enforcers who are duty-bound to uphold the law. Tagapagpatupad tayo ng batas, hindi tayo ang batas,” Eleazar said.

“Always remember that the true courage of a police officer is measured by how he keeps his integrity and moral values intact amid the temptation and the pressure to commit abuses and disregard the rule of law,” he added.

Eleazar also stressed the sacrifices of policemen on the ground and the accomplishments of the campaign against illegal drugs.

These include the confiscation of multi-billion peso worth of illegal drugs, the neutralization of key players in the illegal drugs trade in the country and the dismantling of shabu laboratories in the country.

 

De Lima seeks reelection in 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila De Lima has filed her certificate of candidacy (COC), through an authorized representative, for her reelection bid in the 2022 elections.

De Lima’s spokesperson, Atty. Dino de Leon, filed her COC on Friday on her behalf.

In seeking reelection, De Lima said she wants to restore justice in the next administration and vowed to demand an accounting of President Rodrigo Duterte’s unfulfilled campaign promises.

De Lima, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, has been in detention since 2017 at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame for her alleged involvement in the narcotics trade.

She has repeatedly denied the drug-related charges against her.

Prior to being elected as senator in 2016, she served as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and secretary of the Department of Justice.

Kiko Pangilinan, Leila de Lima, Bam Aquino lead LP Senate bets for 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Liberal Party (LP) on Tuesday announced the nominations of Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Leila de Lima, as well as former Senator Bam Aquino, as its senatorial candidates for the 2022 elections.

In a statement, the LP said the formal nomination of Pangilinan, de Lima, and Aquino happened during the party’s virtual National Executive Council Meeting.

Aquino has yet to announce his plans for the upcoming polls.

The gathering was attended by LP party chairperson and Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Quezon City Representative Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, and former lawmakers Teddy Baguilat and Erin Tañada, among others.

The LP said it also passed a resolution endorsing Senator Risa Hontiveros and Atty. Chel Diokno as part of its initial list of guest senatorial candidates, for being aligned with the party’s principles.

The former ruling party also passed another resolution granting Robredo full authority and discretion in initiating talks and coming up with agreements, as well as identifying and assembling a united national slate of candidates for president, vice president and senators, “while respecting her preference on the elective position she may decide to run for, if any, with the full support by the Party as a whole.”

Robredo has yet to announce her plans for the 2022 elections.

The period for the filing of candidacy will be from October 1 to 8.

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