BEIJING – A House panel may have refused to recommend criminal charges against Sen. Leila de Lima, but President Duterte is confident that the former justice secretary “will rot in jail” for involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Duterte told reporters here yesterday that he saw De Lima suffering the fate of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was placed in hospital detention without bail during the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III on charges of corruption and poll cheating.
The charges were eventually dismissed, allowing her
to attend House sessions during her third term as representative of Pampanga’s second district.
Interestingly, De Lima was the justice secretary when the cases against Arroyo were filed.
“The testimonies of those who lined up there previously, and given the test of the crucible of direct and cross-examination and put it to the test, I am telling you now, she is in danger of going to jail,” Duterte said here. “And remember, the moment the indictments are filed in court, there is no bail. And she could (experience) what Gloria Arroyo suffered.”
De Lima is being investigated by the Department of Justice on accusations that she collected money from drug lords to finance her senatorial bid during the 2016 polls. Inmates of the New Bilibid Prison also claimed during congressional hearings that De Lima had granted special privileges to high-value convicts when she was justice secretary.
De Lima has denied the allegations and claimed that Duterte is out to assassinate her character because she has been critical of his brutal war on drugs. She also predicted that Duterte would be embarrassed for making false allegations.
But the President is convinced that the inmates who tagged De Lima in the narcotics trade were telling the truth. He has portrayed De Lima in several speeches as the example of a narco politician.
“You think those officials who testified against her were lying? These so many NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) agents and all? And her odious character,” he said. “She (talks) as if she is raising the view of womanhood to take away the heat (from her)…If those (drug) connections are true, she will rot in jail. She will rot in jail. It’s no bail because not only did she encourage (and allow) shabu to enter (the penitentiary) in and out, she was a principal by direct participation.”