The Department of Justice (DOJ) wants Sen. Leila de Lima ousted from the Senate through administrative charges that it plans to file ahead of criminal cases in connection with her supposed involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd said in a news conference administrative cases could be resolved faster than criminal cases, although he claimed the ongoing investigation on the lawmaker would lead to the latter.
Criminal cases have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, while administrative proceedings require only substantial evidence.
As a general rule, twin administrative and criminal charges can be filed against government officials with the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Rulings are faster in administrative cases and she will be removed from her position,” Aguirre said.
The National Bureau of Investigation is conducting a fact-finding probe on de Lima’s role in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary, and the case may be forwarded with the DOJ or the Office of the Ombudsman.
GMA News showed on Monday night images of bank deposit slips for accounts allegedly used by Bilibid drug syndicates.
De Lima is also facing a Senate Ethics Committee probe, and under the 1987 Constitution, a senator can be ousted with a two-thirds Senate vote.
Aguirre claimed de Lima’s dragging of the names of other people, such as former President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino, into the drug probe was a sign of desperation.
Ex-prisons chief to testify?
Aguirre also said former Bureau of Corrections director Franklin Bucayu had sent feelers that he would cooperate with the investigation on de Lima, who was DOJ secretary under Aquino.
Bucayu may testify on October 5 in an inquiry of the House of Representatives’ justice committee.
Several gang leaders had testified before the committee that Bucayu, along with his then DOJ superior, de Lima, benefited from proceeds of illegal drug trading.
Inmate Herbert Colanggo, for instance, claimed Bucayu received P1.2 million a month in drug payoffs from him.
Aguirre said convict Jaybee Sebastian, accused by gang leaders of collecting money for de Lima, could be accepted as a state witness if he will offer vital and substantial testimony.
Sebastian may be granted immunity if he discloses the whole truth, he added.
However, even without the testimony of Sebastian, the affidavits of the other inmates are enough to pin down de Lima, Aguirre said.
In Malacañang on Monday, Duterte hit de Lima anew for stating that Sebastian was her “asset” against Bilibid gangs, and even insinuated that the two had sexual relations.
“What was that asset? Was it a sexual asset or a source of information? And why do you have to do it for four hours?” Duterte said.
The President said he might even show the alleged video of de Lima in bed with a man he originally thought to be her driver, Ronnie Dayan.
“Who is the man portrayed there? Was he the one in the kubol (prison cell) or the one who was driving you (de Lima)?” he asked.
Duterte claimed he lost his appetite every time he saw the video.
The President expressed confidence de Lima would be jailed. “She will really be imprisoned, that’s certain because of the testimonial evidence,” Duterte said.
De Lima again denied the supposed sex video.
She asked: “What do you see in me that you find so sexual?”
“I pity you our beloved President, please stop bothering me. What do you want from me? May gusto po ba kayo sa akin [Do you fancy me]?” she said.