No case yet vs de Lima – DOJ


    THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DOJ) does not have enough evidence yet to file criminal charges against Sen. Leila de Lima, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd admitted before a House inquiry on Wednesday.

    Aguirre made the admission when he was quizzed by Surigao del Norte Rep. Ace Barbers on whether the testimonies of the inmates and other witnesses were enough to indict de Lima.

    “If we talk of chain of command, that’s administrative liability. As for criminal responsibility under [the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act]…we are building the case because all we are going by so far are testimonial evidence and few documents,” Aguirre told the House Committee on Justice on the second day of a probe into the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison.

    On Monday, convicts Herbert Colanggo and Rodolfo Magleo claimed de Lima received as much as P70 million in payoffs from drugs, which allowed inmates to smuggle drugs, prostitutes, beer, golf carts and concert equipment, among others, into the Bilibid in Muntinlupa City.

    “Please bear with us. We are looking at an account amounting to billions. The [Anti-Money Laundering Council] will release its report this afternoon. We want to have an airtight case,” Aguirre said.

    Aguirre, however, claimed Magalong’s testimony on Wednesday, in which the latter alleged that then Justice Secretary de Lima put off a raid on the cells of inmates and Bilibid gang leaders Colanggo and Jaybee Sebastian, would boost the Duterte administration’s case against the senator.

    “After Magalong’s testimony, the strength of our evidence more than doubled,” Aguirre said.

    Magalong said it was the Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police that initially planned the raid on Bilibid, called Oplan “Cronus.”

    But a different operation was conducted at the Bilibid on December 15, 2014, without the CIDG’s participation.
    The Justice department, the Bureau of Corrections, the National Bureau of Investigation and select police units conducted the raid.

    “In few occasions that we (Magalong and de Lima) met, I was asking her, ‘Ma’am, what do we do with our operation.’ If nobody will stand up for it, I am willing to be the ground commander,” Magalong told the House justice panel.

    “She said to me, ‘Just wait, Benjie, just wait,’” Magalong narrated.

    Aguirre also addressed claims by de Lima and critics that the witnesses he had assembled against the senator were coerced.

    He said the inmates were credible and their testimonies would be vital in filing charges against de Lima, former Justice undersecretary Francisco Baraan 3rd, and former de Lima aides Ronnie Dayan and Joenel Sanchez, among others.

    “The credibility of these witnesses are not compromised because of the crime they committed in the past. I have been a litigator for 44 years, and in 10 minutes, I can tell if the witness is lying,” Aguirre said in a news conference.

    “You have seen the demeanor of the witnesses. They are relaxed,” Aguirre added.

    File charges, lawmakers urge
    Despite the lack of solid proof, minority lawmakers urged Aguirre to file charges against de Lima. They also called on de Lima to quit.

    “The DOJ in particular, or any Filipino for that matter concerned with the problem that we find ourselves in, [can]file the necessary charges,” Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said in a news conference on Wednesday.

    Atienza said the country was in the middle of a serious situation, and the filing of charges should not be prolonged.

    House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez of Quezon said his bloc will make sure during budget deliberations that the DOJ will file cases against de Lima.

    “We will not allow that she will not face charges,” Suarez added.

    Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque reiterated his call for de Lima’s resignation, saying her stay would only taint the reputation of Congress.

    “It’s not just one or two witnesses who positively said that they gave money to her,” Roque said in Filipino.

    “It’s not the convicts. It’s the officials of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), there is a presumption of regularity in the performance of their function. There is no doubt in my mind that Leila de Lima violated the law,” Roque added.

    He was referring to de Lima’s former subordinates at the NBI, Rafael Ragos and Jovencio Ablen Jr., who claimed they delivered millions of pesos in drug money to de Lima at her house in Parañaque City in 2012.


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    1. I personally do not like De Lima but due process must be observe. Aquire gut feeling does not count. I do not know how stupid this guy is to say this comments. There must be tangible proof by credible witness for a case to progress. Atty Roque is another comedian. Another one is Lito Atienza. We are being run by fools.

    2. Pag iyan si DELIMAW ay hindi ninyo nasampahan ng kaso nor be impeach, masisira na ang credibilidad ninyo ng bagong Administration President Digong. Take note.. Ang dami ng testigo laban kay Delimaw ano pa ang hinahanap ninyo na testigo or dokumento, Mr. Aguirre???… Ano na nmn ito lokohan na lang ba?? sinasayang ninyo ang oras, pera ng taong bayan na walang nangyayari … Halos lahat ng oras ninyo nandiyan sa HEARING NA IYAN, pero wala yatang kahihinatnan…Pagduduhanan namin kayo Mr. Aguirre/?? Kung kayo ba talaga ay para sa masang FILIPINO OR SA DILAWAN PA RIN KAYO….????

    3. Frank Fernandez on

      Take note Aguirre was talking to a news conference as what was described above and not at the investigation floor. What he said “I can tell if the witness is lying.” is not a court ‘verdict’ but his own personal analysis vetted based on his profession and actual experiences for the past 44 years. I find nothing untoward to that.

    4. Exodus 20:16
      “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.Exodu 23:1
      “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. May the Lord do whatever is right in His sight. God does not sleep. Let us fear God. He does not slumber. He see our hearts. When He judge it is a righteous judgement. He who have no sin should throw the first stone.

    5. Ignacio Balbutin on

      The testimonies of the witnesses are so clear, vivid and in details that there were be no doubts of their credibility. If the DOJ want more evidence then they should follow up by getting all the bank accounts of De Lima. Some congressmen or can file a case immediately. Let Mocha file the case or somebody file the case now

      • If you are talking about Hara who testified that her husband was killed during Aquino’s term then change it to Duterte’s term on the 2nd day and matobato’s statement of 30 professional killers statement. then yes the quality of Aguirre’s witness vs the quantity of imaginary statement of de lima’s witness.

    6. It is my impression that the objective of the President through his alter egos (Speaker Alvarez/ DOJ Sec Aguirre/ Senator Cayetano) is to assassinate & destroy the character & credibility of Sen. de Lima through demolition by perception. The filing of administrative and/or criminal cases will come later.

    7. “Hold departure” should now be imposed !!! … KARMA ?
      Time for former First gentleman Arroyo to celebrate !!! He he he he he he
      Is the former First gentleman already off the hook ?

    8. I have been a litigator for 44 years, and in 10 minutes, I can tell if the witness is lying,” Aguirre said in a news conference.

      Seriously ?
      No need for investigations conducted by any agencies in the Philippines just have Aguirre talk to De Lima and then sentence her if she lies.

      • SERIOUSLY? How can you build a case just by talking to a suspect? Eversince Delima is denying everything all the accusation against her. SERIOUSLY!!!