House won’t press charges vs de Lima


AFTER hemming and hawing, the House Committee on Justice did not recommend the filing of charges against former Justice secretary Leila de Lima and prison officials over the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison that supposedly occurred under their watch.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, the committee chairman, did not disclose the contents of the committee report issued after four days of inquiries, but the non-recommendation was revealed by the lone “no” vote of minority bloc member Alfredo Garbin of Ako Bicol party-list.

“There should be identification of definitive culpability of those accountable officers who are involved in the proliferation of drug trade in the Bilibid. The position of the minority is it is necessary to identify those officials and personalities,” Garbin said in explaining his vote.

“The recommendation … must arrive at the prosecution of the accountable officers. We find this conspicuously absent in the recommendation,” Garbin added.

Apart from Garbin, the rest of the House justice panel voted in favor of the committee report through viva voce.
Umali told reporters he could not disclose the report’s contents, invoking House rules that state that the content of a committee report cannot be made public before it is calendared in the order of business for plenary deliberation.

He only said: “We are ready to defend this [report]in the plenary.”

Garbin said the House minority bloc would submit a dissenting opinion.

Political analyst Alfred Sureta said de Lima was not yet off the hook following the Bilibid drug probe.
Sureta argued that the House justice panel’s findings won’t restrict the Justice department from filing charges against the senator.

“As far as the panel is concerned… if their findings stand on the belief that no charges will be filed, then they are correct. However, it does not prevent the Department of Justice from filing the same,” Sureta said.

‘Evidence points to de Lima’
In a draft copy of the committee report shown by a congressional source on Tuesday afternoon, the House justice panel said “all of the evidence point to [de Lima’s]involvement and possible accountability in these illegal activities.”

The panel, however, said “the determination of probable cause to support the filing of appropriate charges against her is a function of the Department of Justice and/or the Ombudsman” and thus, “the Committee leaves to the sound discretion of the Department of Justice and/or Ombudsman the determination of whether appropriate charges should be filed against her, noting that several complaints have already been filed against her by certain groups.”

A dozen inmates testified during the House inquiry, accusing de Lima of allowing the drug trade and other illegal activities such as prostitution and gambling at the Bilibid in exchange for payoffs that allegedly financed her Senate campaign.

Of those who testified against her, only two claimed to have given her money personally: Engelberto Durano and Jaybee Sebastian.

De Lima, who was Justice secretary from 2010 to 2015, has denied all accusations against her and claimed the government had pressured the inmates to testify against her.

De Lima is a leading critic of the summary killings linked to the President’s campaign against illegal drugs.

She led a probe into the drug-related killings but was booted out as Senate justice committee head by her colleagues, after she presented a witness who claimed Duterte had ordered about a thousand killings as mayor of Davao City.

Witnesses seeking pardon

An opposition lawmaker buttressed de Lima’s claim of government pressure on witnesses, saying that five of the 12 inmates who testified before the House inquiry have pending applications for pardon before the Office of the President.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, citing a letter from the Board of Pardons and Parole under the Department of Justice, said these inmates and their corresponding prison numbers were: Engelberto Durano (N206P-1899), Nonilo Arile (N200P-2649), Jaime Patio (N202P-2563), Jojo Baligad (N208P-0036) and Vicente Sy (N99P-3794).
“We should monitor these inmates closely. They could be freed anytime,” Alejano, a former marine captain, told reporters.

Umali said he did not want to preempt Malacañang, but noted that granting the witnesses clemency was “within the power of the President.”


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  1. mabait na pinoy on

    The House won’t press charges against De Lima? can anybody guess why? because the House was not able to get a smoking gun from the witnesses and the only thing the House got was “circumstantial evidences”. Luckily, they realized that lack of hard evidence will not get conviction and secondly, De lima would make all of them look like a bunch dickhead fools.

  2. As Duterte continues to destroy long-time friendships over his own paranoia, our Filipino friends and families here in the U.S. wonder if he has ever been drug tested? It seems to us that his irresponsible behavior is most-likely related to a drug habit of his own. It makes sense that he would lash out at drug users if he himself is one and is trying to hide that fact.

  3. Anak ng…. overwhelming ang witness at corroborated pa, from NBI officals, to Nbp officers to convicted criminals tapos sasabihin nyo We will not recommend filing of cases against De lima. Umali nag mukha kayong tanga sa ginawa nyo. Alam naman na in aide of legislation yan, pero since time in memorial pag may strong evidence lagging may recommendation ang house o senate after ng inquiry nila.

    • bitch. 5 out of 12 inmates that implicated De Lima in drug trade has
      a pending clemency or presidential pardon before the Office of the President. What the fuck. In exchange of testifying the Senator. Go D5 we support you. The hell to those criticize you.

  4. Hindi na talaga magkakaroon ng tamang hustisya dito sa ating bansa…Dapat ng ideclare ang martial law para sa mga taong corrupt na may tinatagong kasamaan para sa ating mamayan…Ano pang ebidensiya may testigo pa. Pinagloloko na ninyo ang taong bayan. Kung ayaw ninyong idemanda si delimaw, pagresign na ninyo sa Senado..CODE OF ETHICS…Hindi pa ba ssapat iyong dalawang beses siyang tumanggap ng pera (maliit man o malaking halaga) sa mga drug lords sa NBP… Mga dilawan pa rin ang nasa congress….. RAT BRAINS….MALINAW Pa Sa liwanang ng araw ang kasalann niya sa taong bayan…..Pinakikita ninyo sa aming mamayan ang pagtatanggol ninyo sa mga MASAMANG GAWAIN ng KAPWA ninyong nasa congress at Senate..

  5. Very poor legislation… Always there is cover-up from those, dahil meron masasa-gasaan kuno..(after bribe)


    If De lima can escape from this issues, our law is still just acting. Para mapakita lamang sa mama-mayang Pilipino na meron ginagawa ang batas…

  6. Without solid evidences, the House investigation (not an inquiry) was only a “demolition job by perception” TO DESTROY the character & credibility of Sen. de Lima. It was a COVER-UP to hide the EJKs of HitlerDU30 personally sponsored by him.

  7. What do you expect from a committee chaired by a known PNoy boot licker.. the house investigation appears to be all noise no substance! The reasoning that the hearing is in aid of legislation is pure hogwash! Mr Umali tell that to your little lady!