THE criminal charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Sen. Leila de Lima constitute a “mistrial,” according to former senator Rene Saguisag.
In a chance interview after the book relaunching of Primitivo Mijares’ “The Conjugal Dictatorship” at the Bantayog Ng Mga Bayani center on Tuesday night, where Saguisag was a guest, he said the criminal charges against de Lima make for “the mistrial of the century.”
“To me, it is the mistrial of the century,” Saguisag told The Manila Times.
For him, he said, the allegations being aired by President Rodrigo Duterte and DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd against de Lima, a former Justice secretary, should not be tolerated.
“Because the President has said she is guilty, Aguirre has said she is guilty, that should not be allowed,” the former senator added.
On February 20, the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) has assigned three cases filed by the DOJ on de Lima’s “links” to the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons–the national penitentiary– to its three branches.
On the same day when the charges were filed, de Lima asked the Muntinlupa RTC to dismiss the cases raffled off to RTC Branches 204, 205 and 206.
Saguisag, a lawyer, likened the word war between Duterte and de Lima to one of the biggest cases in the United States during the 1970s when former American President Richard Nixon vilified mass murderer Charlie Manson.
He said the White House, during the term of Nixon in the 1970s,was quick to apologize on their “prejudgements” against Manson.
“The President’s oath is to do justice to every man, but to beat up your political opponent everyday, that is not right,” Saguisag said in Filipino.
The former senator added that de Lima had “offended” Duterte when she investigated summary executions in Davao City when the latter was the mayor there and when de Lima was then-chairman of the Commission on Human Rights.
“Because of that, [I think] de Lima enraged the then-mayor That is why this is the mistrial of the century,” Saguisag said.