OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

I read somewhere that some unnamed individuals are lobbying for the appointment of former Senator Leila De Lima to head the Department of Justice to replace a reportedly ailing Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla. The news hinted that these lobbyists are influential personalities whom President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., may not wish to displease. What a quirk of fate would that be if, not when, the president gives in to this lobbying. It is undoubtedly a huge Delima (oops! I mean DILEMMA) for Marcos whether or not to yield to influencers. I dare predict that his action would be of dramatic and historical proportions.

Let me first address this “quirk of fate” thing. Sometime in the early months of the administration of then very popular President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, he called De Lima a “robber” and “an immoral woman.” When I searched the internet, I found out that it was in August 2016, barely two months since Duterte assumed power, that he spoke to a crowd of police officers and dignitaries, including former President Fidel Ramos (now deceased) and Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua. The occasion was the 115th anniversary of the Police Service. In his speech Duterte alleged that De Lima used her driver – also her lover, to collect drug payoffs on her behalf for her May election campaign. The former president further shocked his audience when he declared that the lady lawmaker “is sure to go to prison for her involvement in the Bilibid drug trade.”

In September 2016, then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II of the Duterte administration, just after the presidential declaration that the Bicolano legislator would go to jail, said he was set to file criminal charges against De Lima based on the testimonies of a roster of prison gang leaders and Bureau of Prisons officials. The rest in now part of records that drug related criminal charges were leveled against the former lawmaker but, one by one, the “gang of prisoners” as well as Bilibid officers recanted their affidavits and claimed that they were coerced to sign those papers such that the courts were left with no other course but to dismiss the cases! What a quirk of fate indeed if Marcos makes De Lima, once an accused, as his Secretary of Justice.

Considering that De Lima is a sworn foe of ex-president Duterte, and both Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio and President Marcos won in the last election as a team, it is difficult to imagine that Pres. Marcos will appoint her as Justice secretary. As a saying goes, Duterte and De Lima are cat and mouse. To be sure Sara and Leila cannot see eye to eye. Lol but, if he does, I take it as the strongest proof that the vaunted UNITEAM is a thing of the past. With such appointment, Marcos will have given the signal that he anticipates the issuance of the warrant of arrest issued by the International Criminal Court.

I believe that making De Lima as President Marcos’ Justice Secretary is the better end to the dilemma. If ever the appointment of De Lima as secretary of Justice pushes thru, ex-president Duterte will have seen the tides being turned. The very woman he chased till she got incarcerated will be the same woman who will lead his arrest. Actually, the arrest of Duterte is important to Marcos to ensure that the Marcos-Romualdez dynasty will have little opposition. Pastilan politika.

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