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De Lima says Guevarra 'feigning ignorance' on her case.

By Mario Casayuran

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima today twitted Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra for supposedly feigning ignorance of her high-profile drug case where the weight of the government was thrown at her.

''Justice Secretary Guevarra condescendingly asks why it is only now that I applied for bail. A feigned ignorance of what my drug cases are all about, or what they truly are, is what I sense from him,'' de Lima said.

In a statement sent from her cell at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center in Quezon city, de Lima said: ''We know that these are not ordinary cases. These are cases of political persecution with the whole power of government brought to bear on me. From the very start it is (President) Duterte himself who targeted me and ordered his whole government to throw me in jail by hook or by crook.''

''It is not, therefore, farfetched that judges handling my cases will be pressured by the Executive, given that no other than the President has already proclaimed my guilt. This is not to mention promises of appointment to the Court of Appeals, as Duterte can appoint to higher office any judge willing to convict me even on the flimsiest of evidence,'' she explained.

''The judges in these cases, past and present--especially in the case of those who refused to determine probable cause independently of the DOJ and proceeded to issue warrants of arrest against me--first had to see the evidence, or lack of it, in full, in all its incredibility, unreliability and absurdity, to see there is absolutely no case against me. Regardless of any pressure or promise of promotion that will come from Malacanang, any judge will see how difficult it is to accommodate Duterte's wish, given that the charges have absolutely no leg to stand on,'' she added.

De Lima, a former Justice Secretary, said Guevarra should ask his own prosecutors, all 10 or 15 of them, what happened in this particular case, People v. De Lima and Dera.

''He should ask why the charges of conspiracy to engage in drug trading became, in the narrative of their own star witness Peter Co, one for kidnapping for ransom. It became clear that this case was about a ninja cop operation, of PNP officers kidnapping Co's niece and companions and demanding for ransom. It had absolutely nothing to do with me or my job then as Secretary of Justice. It was purely a rogue PNP operation,'' she pointed out.

''With the full evidence, or lack of it, now before the court, and the testimonies of respectable PNP and NBI officials presented by the prosecution itself--who provided strong evidence of my innocence, testifying in unison that: (a) I have never been a subject of any intel (intelligence) report linking me to the illegal drug trade; and (b) I led successful raid in 2014 to curb illegal drug trade and other illegal activities inside Bilibid--any judge, even with pressure from Malacanang, will now have to rule on my motion on the merits, nothing more and nothing less,'' she said.

''Subliminally, we were waiting for (former DOJ Secretary Vitaliano) Aguirre's and Guevarra's other witnesses--the perjured and coerced ones to come to their senses and retract their lies against me. Without that happening yet, evidently, it's not yet the right and "safe" time for truth-telling. And we can no longer wait,'' she added.

De Lima emphasized that truth might be stalled but never vanquished.

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Senator Leila de Lima (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
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Title Annotation:National; Leila de Lima, Menardo Guevarra
Author:Casayuran, Mario
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jun 20, 2020
Words:589
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