President Rodrigo Duterte believes that Sen. Leila de Lima will suffer the fate of former president Gloria Arroyo and “rot in jail” for her involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing Wednesday night, Duterte said de Lima is jail bound.
“I am telling you now, she is in danger of going to jail. And remember the moment the indictments are filed in court, there is no bail. And she could suffer what Gloria Arroyo suffered,” the President said.
Arroyo was detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for years for plunder for the alleged misuse of P366 million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds from 2008 to 2010. However, she was released in July after the Supreme Court dismissed the plunder complaint filed against her.
In 2011, De Lima, then the Justice secretary, barred Arroyo and her husband from leaving the country, defying a temporary restraining order issued by the High Court.
Duterte said the testimonies of several persons presented at the hearings conducted by the Justice committee at the House of Representatives are sufficient to pin down de Lima.
“You think those officials who testified against her are lying? These so many NBI agents and all? And her odious character. She is taking — as if she is raising the view of womanhood to take away the heat. If those connections are true, she will rot in jail. She will rot in jail. It’s no bail. Because not only did she encourage in allowing shabu to enter in and out, she was a principal by direct participation,” he said.
“She could be the indispensable cooperation which is the second stage, without her those doors would not have opened or if it is really a conspiracy, it’s really the act of one is the act of all,” Duterte added.
De Lima was accused by some inmates at the National Bilibid Prison of receiving drug money to fund her senatorial campaign. She has vehemently denied receiving any drug money for her campaign kitty.
The senator branded as “sufficient lies” the so-called findings of the House justice committee of her supposed “involvement and possible accountability” in the drug trade at the NBP.
De Lima said she is not surprised that the panel did not recommend the filing of cases against her because she knows that it is not competent in determining probable cause.
“In any case, it simply vindicates what I have been saying all along: I am not complicit in the illegal drug trade, whether inside the New Bilibid Prison or elsewhere,” she added.
The senator said the committee is aware that it could not recommend the filing of cases against her since it is not within its competency to determine the existence of probable cause.
De Lima said she led raids at the NBP that exposed the illicit activities in the penitentiary and the luxurious lifestyles of some inmates.
“Any allegation to the contrary is a brazen falsehood motivated by nothing else but a grossly undemocratic desire to shame me into silence about other critical issues, such as the spate of extrajudicial killings. Anyone with half a brain and has seen how events have unfolded in the past three months would readily see that,” the senator added.
“I hope that, somehow, something positive would come out of all of these after all the public shaming and maligning that I was put through – not to my embarrassment, but, in truth, to the embarrassment of the House of Representatives, which was turned into a circus of sex, violence and videotape melodrama,” she added. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA and CATHERINE VALENTE