It's up to Senate to deal with De Lima, Palace says
( - August 28, 2016 - 5:42pm
MANILA, Philippines — It would be up to the Senate to deal with Sen. Leila de Lima, who has been linked by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte to the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons, Malacañang said Sunday.
Asked if he thinks De Lima should quit after being accused of involvement in narcotics, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said: “Let’s wait for the decision of the court in the event that it reaches the court. Let’s wait for the Senate, which is a collective body. They have rules to contend with.”
“I think it’s up to the Senate to decide the next steps for Senator Leila de Lima because it is an independent body.”
Andanar said it is too early to speculate on what would happen to De Lima and other personalities included in the matrix containing the names of officials who are believed to be behind the illegal drugs trade.
“Those who are following the story are expecting the filing of cases,” he added.
Andanar said there is no timetable for the filing of charges but maintained that it should be done as soon as possible.
“If there is prima facie evidence and if the persons of interests did not file counter affidavits, then they will be charged.”
Last week, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the officials in the matrix may face graft and drug-related charges once the information linking them to the sale of narcotics is verified.

Palace claims victory in anti-drug war

Andanar claimed that the naming of officials with alleged ties to drug rings and the surrender of several drug personalities indicate that the Duterte administration has won the first phase of its war on drugs.
“More than 700,000 have surrendered or turned themselves in to be rehabilitated. And if we look at the names of those on top echelons of society who were mentioned in the drug matrix, it can be considered a victory in the first phase (of the war),” Andanar said.
“So, we will now move on to the second phase of the drug campaign and President Duterte will be the one to explain the second phase.”  
Malacañang also claimed victory in the anti-drug war in the government-run tabloid Masa launched two weeks ago. According to the tabloid, Duterte is destroying “narco politics” and is dismantling the drug apparatus throughout the country.
More than 160 officials, including active and retired uniformed personnel, have been accused of protecting or benefiting from the sale and distribution of narcotics.
The latest to be linked to the illicit trade is De Lima, a vocal critic of the Duterte administration’s brutal anti-drug campaign.
Duterte previously claimed that De Lima had an illicit affair with her married driver Ronnie Dayan, who allegedly collected money from drug lords to bankroll her senatorial bid.
The president also claimed that De Lima’s “sexual escapades” and “immorality” impelled her to violate the law and grant several privileges to some inmates at the New Bilibid Prison. He, however, has yet to show evidence backing his allegations against the senator.
Prior to winning the 2016 senatorial race, De Lima served as Justice secretary of the Aquino administration. The Bureau of Corrections, which maintains the New Bilibid Prisons, is under the Justice department.

New drug matrix

De Lima is the highest ranking official in the matrix of drug personalities presented by Duterte to the media last week.  
Former Pangasinan governor and now 5th district Rep. Amado Espino Jr., suspended provincial administrator Rafael Baraan and his brother former Justice Undersecretary Francis Baraan, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan Mayor Raul Sison, former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu and Dayan were also on the list.
According to Duterte, Dayan received monthly payment from Bucayu through a certain Senior Police Officer 1 Palisoc. He also claimed that Dayan is a known drug user who received a house and lot and vehicles from De Lima.
Bucayu allegedly served as an intermediary between De Lima and Espino, who was also tagged in black sand mining, quarrying and jueteng. Rafael, meanwhile, was accused of being a cover for Espino’s illegal activities.
The Justice department said at least six witnesses — inmates, prison guards and friends of De Lima and Dayan — are ready to support Duterte’s allegations.
De Lima has denied any links with drug lords and has described Duterte’s matrix as “garbage” and “laughable.” She also predicted that the president would be embarrassed for making baseless accusations.

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