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Judiciary inflicted with 'impunity virus' under Duterte, says De Lima.

The Duterte administration has inflicted the judiciary with 'impunity virus' following the acquittal of the 'powerful' and 'influential' of criminal charges, according to Senator Leila de Lima.

De Lima on Tuesday said the judiciary has been performing 'miracles' in absolving influential persons from criminal charges under President Rodrigo Duterte's regime.

'Duterte's assumption to power appears to have inflicted the entire government and its justice system with the impunity virus,' De Lima said in a statement on Tuesday.

'We can all expect these judicial 'miracles' of impunity to become the new normal, in line with the unprecedented impunity promoted and perpetrated by the strongman and dictator-in-waiting Duterte,' the senator said.

This, as De Lima chided the Court of Appeals (CA) justice who penned the decision that absolved ex-Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes from the killing of broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega.

De Lima said Associate Justice Normandie Pizarro must be living in a 'bizarre' world for absolving Reyes.

'In his own ponencia, Pizarro calls his own decision exonerating Reyes a 'miracle' and a second lease on Reyes's life. Justice Pizarro must be living in a bizarro world when he fancies himself like Jesus Christ performing a 'miracle' to give the accused Reyes a second chance in life,' the senator said.

De Lima said the 'judicial miracles' started when former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was granted bail by the Supreme Court (SC) in his pork barrel cases, followed by the acquittal of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the SC over the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) fund scam.

The senator also pointed out the SC ruling that allowed the remains of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the CA acquittal of Janet Lim-Napoles of serious illegal detention charges, the Court of Tax Appeals' dismissal of tax raps against Jeane Napoles, and the Sandiganbayan's order to release former Senator Jinggoy Estrada on bail.

De Lima also mentioned the 'concerted' congressional and executive 'attack' on Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whom she said was 'trying to put things in order in the judiciary.'

'To the powerful, influential, and well-connected who have stolen millions of public funds or murdered hundreds of citizens, these might seem to be heaven-sent miracles,' De Lima said.

'But to the public that is already disgusted with the plethora of acquittals and pre-trial exonerations performed by the judiciary, this is already judicial impunity at its worst in the history of the country,' she said. /je

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 9, 2018
Words:501
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