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Duterte: De Lima has DAP case coming up

President Duterte said that he saw Sen. Leila 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. PPD | AP, File

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said detained Sen. Leila de Lima, one of his fiercest critics, will soon have a case to answer regarding the allegedly anomalous Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the previous administration.

“Walang yellow pa na naka ano ngayon except De Lima. But she has a case coming up also sa DAP,” Duterte said of the embattled senator in his speech before outstanding government workers in Malacañang. 

“I could not believe really, maski kami magusap-usap. Grabe itong babaeng ‘to. talagang kapal sa kapal,” he added.

READ: Duterte facing 'Hunger Games' protests

Yellow is the political color associated with the Liberal Party whose members, including De Lima, are critical of the administration.

The president’s latest diatribes against De Lima came after the Department of Justice disclosed that former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who was recently released from detention, could “be used as a state witness in the investigation and possible cases on the DAP anomaly.”

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Estrada has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City since the cases were filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in June 2014. The cases stemmed from his alleged misuse of congressional funds.

READ: Jinggoy clueless on DOJ's plan to utilize him as DAP witness

The chief executive's remarks also came after he said Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, another vocal critic of the government, should explain the source of his wealth, hinting that the senator may have benefited from the DAP controversy.

A task force has been created by the DOJ to investigate the previous Aquino administration on the alleged DAP anomaly.

Former President Benigno Aquino III earlier said the DAP was implemented to accelerate public spending and to spur economic growth.

But the Supreme Court in 2014 found several acts under DAP as “unconstitutional,” such as the declaration of unobligated funds as “savings” and the cross-border transfer of funds to other offices outside the executive.

Duterte had repeatedly accused De Lima, who has vehemently condemned the government’s deadly drug war, of benefiting from the illegal drug activities inside the New Bilibid Prison during her time as justice secretary.

Last February, De Lima was detained and described her arrest as “an appalling sign of the return of a power-hungry, morally bankrupt and abusive government.”

She also pointed to Duterte as the mastermind of her persecution based on “manufactured stories” from drug convicts at the national penitentiary. She called him and his officials “liars” and “hypocrites.”

The high court will start deliberating next month on De Lima’s petition seeking her release from detention and a stop to her indictment on drug charges. 

Meanwhile, in the same speech on Wednesday, Duterte also issued a warning against corrupt government employees.

“Pero gusto ko lang tapusin itong drugs pati corruption. Kaya sabi ko kayong taga-gobyerno, ‘Wag talaga kayo magkamali anak ng... ‘wag na wag kayo magkamali,” the president said.

“At ito naman mga ahensya sa gobyerno, do not go into selective justice. Sabi ko sauce for the gander, sauce for the goose,” he added.

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