A coalition of various cause-oriented groups accused former Justice Secretary and senatorial candidate Leila de Lima of deliberately bungling the plunder charges against Janet Lim Napoles and two other lawmakers who were allowed by the Sandiganbayan to post bail.
Leody de Guzman, first nominee of Sanlakas to the party-list election, said De Lima was an “incompetent” justice secretary because she failed to strengthen the evidence against Napoles, former Masbate Representative Rizalina Seachon-Lanete and former Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez.
Sanlakas members who joined a protest rally in front of the Department of Justice building on Thursday asserted that “De Lima has no moral authority to become a senator because of her fake crusade against graft and corruption and justice for victims of state terror.”
De Guzman, who is also the chairman of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, said De Lima should be held accountable for the government’s failure to imprison “big fishes,” particularly those who plundered public funds.
He said it was De Lima who supervised the gathering of evidence and the filing of charges against Napoles, Lanete and Valdez.
The two former lawmakers gained their temporary freedom because the Sandiganbayan found the evidence presented against them by the prosecution “weak.”
Lanete posted a bail of P830 while Valdez posted P1.7 million bail.
Napoles, however, can not secure temporary liberty because she is serving a life sentence for serious illegal detention.
The plunder charges against Napoles, Lanete, and Valdez are connected with the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Other groups also questioned the grant of bail to Napoles and the two former lawmakers.
“We need to ask: Did Malacañang and Mar strike a deal with their Ma’am Janet? Bail for the central figure of the worst plunder after Marcos is simply unthinkable and without basis. This is the kind of justice under Daang Matuwid. Our people deserve better,” Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said in a statement.
“It clearly sets a bad precedent. I am almost certain that the bail petitions for all the other accused in the PDAF cases will use the [Lanete case] as a template,” Ridon added.
Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said granting bail to jailed plunderer “is like giving a prisoner a key to his own jail cell.”