• On Sen. De Lima, please show us a drug money trail


    Marlen V. Ronquillo

    There is one way to convict and jail Senator Leila de Lima of drug charges and make that jailing credible to most Filipinos: the presentation of a money trail. Bank accounts in yuuge (borrowing from Trump) numbers. Testimonies of bagmen (real ones, credible ones, not like the yahoos that the state has presented so far), and a credible narrative showing that she really benefitted from the drug trade as alleged by the state.

    In short, show the Filipinos she reaped billions of pesos from the drug trade, backed by the required documentation and witnesses.

    Show us the money.

    Only a money trail will clear all doubts that she really deserved to be called the “grandmother of drug lords.”

    So far, nothing except claims that she did coddle /mastermind the drug trade with the NBP as the main trading point have backed up the charges against her; that Dayan collected money on her behalf; that Dayan had built a decent house in Pangasinan; claims that she bankrolled her senatorial win on money tainted by drugs. All of these would be lame and lack credibility without proof of bank accounts and real bagmen.

    Most Filipinos want assurance that the drug charges are legitimate and not trumped-up. Most Filipinos want a fair trial and not a conviction by a kangaroo court. A legitimate money trail will be the clincher into forming a national consensus that Sen. De Lima was, indeed, the drug queen as alleged.

    After all, she is an elected senator of the country. She had no known reputation for being a crook. Her professional CV is more impressive than the professional reputations of two thirds of the members of the DU30 cabinet. Except for her ghastly, terrible choices in men and her libertine ways, the public does not have much of a negative dossier on Sen. De Lima. And being libertine has nothing to do with public performance. George W., a deeply religious president, to cite, led his country to two calamitous wars and the Great Recession. The libido-driven Bill Clinton, on the other hand, presided over an era of peace and prosperity.

    Once state lawyers accomplish all these, no one would lose a good night’s sleep over the arrest and jailing of the senator. We can all say: “Ok, she deserves to rot in jail.”

    Otherwise, the effort to prosecute her would lead to one thing – we might have to look at her as the next leader of the Philippine opposition.

    Before we go into that, let us take a quick look back at a precedent – on what led to the jailing of Erap Estrada and let us ask this question: who was the main figure that turned the public against Erap Estrada? It was not Chavit Singson’s testimony, though that mattered a lot too. The pivotal moment was the senate testimony of a former banker, Clarissa Ocampo, of the defunct Equitable-PCI Bank.

    Ocampo was the Equitable-PCI banker who knew that Erap Estrada opened accounts under the name of “ Jose Velarde” and testified on that fact during the Erap impeachment trial in the dying days of 2000.

    That proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that Estrada accumulated money from various illegal sources, starting from the early days of his presidency, to finance a lavish lifestyle and the lifestyle of his many mistresses. A few days later, emboldened by Ocampo’s testimony, a lynching mob formed at the Palace gates to oust Estrada, who quickly made his Pasig River getaway.

    State prosecutors need another Clarissa Ocampo to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that Senator de Lima indeed reaped awesome rewards from her alleged drug activities. Or many Clarissa Ocampos, for that matter.

    The absence of a money trail will just prop up claims of the senator that the efforts to jail her constitute political vendetta and not a legitimate inquiry into an indiscretion of the highest form. You know what? A prosecution that fails to append a money trail to her name will merely boost her political stock and we all know what will come next. It is quite predictable.

    Without the tangible proofs of rewards from her alleged drug-coddling/drug trading days, the trial of Senator de Lima will be in utter shambles. For she could not have done that for the sole purpose of pleasing Dayan or giving him the leeway to engage in drug-related commission-taking. She should be proven the main beneficiary and only a money trail would prove that.

    The government has the full power to look into hidden bank accounts, even into accounts hidden by several layers of dummies and phony accounts.

    At the orders of government, even vaults and walls would sing in this country and leak like sieves.

    Without the money, she will be judged innocent by the general public. She will walk. Then she will sprint to assume the leadership of the opposition, given the lack of spine of the Aquino-Roxas group. The remnants of the lame duck Aquino-Roxas group are as spineless as their two bosses.

    With Ms. Robredo playing it nice as always, the bruised but relentless de Lima will eventually capture the public imagination as a fighter. Who knows? That may lead to a bigger prize. Being tough and ready to take in all comers is a major political asset nowadays.


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    1. And this is the same reason why the accusations against Marcos failed to pin him in court. You cannot rely on hearsay alone. You need evidence. I am not a Marcos loyalist and was actually an anti-Marcos in the past but people have been emotional in judging him. I am also not pro-Delima. Personally, I don’t like her but there is no hard evidence to pin her to drug trafficking. Oral testimonies are not that reliable. Just look at what happened to DDS issue. I believe that if you want to pin Delima, ask her about her duties as a former DOJ Secretary. How come she feigns having no idea about the drug trade there and the lavish parties and luxurious lifestyle of the inmates inside NB? A smart woman like her who could defy the SC was blind to this fact when there was also a documentary? And how come there is no proof that drug lord JV was her asset as she said in her defense? The problem is they just want to jail her for drugs so she cannot post bail. Get Delima for the anomalies that happened during her watch because there are more evidence to prove that.

    2. De Lima was then a Justice Secretary and she let the high profile prisoners lived like a king inside the Bilibid prison.

      It would be impossible that a Justice Secretary does not know what’s happening inside the said prison facility.

    3. mr ronquillo, you have to wait for the trial proper to know if there is a money trail or none. the doj or aguirre cannot give it to you now since the matter is not in the hands of the court. you should know that, shouldn’t you??

    4. aladin g. villacorte on

      The cases against Senator de Lima may be weak but President Duterte’s main goal is not necessarily to convict her. The goal is to put her out of circulation, to gag her, to deprive her of a podium or pulpit in the Senate – while she languishes in jail. This is the closest the President can get to a public hanging of his arch critic and political nemesis. Remember, her alleged crimes are non-bailable. And this case will drag on for years. So, conviction – if it happens – would just be the icing on the cake.

    5. There is no intension to convict Delima. Du30’s order is to keep her in jail during his term.

    6. There really is no money trail because there was no transaction, plain and simple. Even Aguirre can not fabricate fake evidences because they don’t exist. Nada, nothing, that’s why it took the DOJ and Malacanang 6 months to finally decide to use people to pin down De Lima. I have watched the supposed De Lima sex video 3 times and I can tell you the characters on that video had bigger bodies, hands, butts were bigger and rounder, shoulders were wider and when they presented De Lima’s driver Dayan during the senate inquiry, his physical features did not resemble the characters on the video which to me looked like African Americans with lighter skin tones. Clearly, De Lima is a victim of political persecution as a result of her questioning Duterte’s involvement with the DDS.

      • Delima is a lawyer. Do you really think that she would deposit those drug money in the bank? Only a fool would leave a trail for their corrupt practices. Think about this, even the lowest corrupt government employee will only accept cash and will not ask you to deposit it in a bank or would they deposit it in the bank. But you will see that they and the people close to them will have a different lifestyle. Watching her s#x tape? man, you have a strong stomach.

    7. You’re too naive. A “smart” lawyer, a former DOJ secretary at that, knows how to cover her tracts. But she can’t counter the testimonies of her former cohorts. That’s her big problem.

    8. aladin g. villacorte on

      Here’s a quote from a GMA News on line:

      Aguirre to thousands of Duterte supporters: Sino gusto n’yo isunod?

      “Sino ang gusto n’yo isunod?”
      This was what Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II asked the crowd of President Rodrigo Duterte supporters at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park (formerly Luneta Park) in Manila on Saturday afternoon.
      The crowd, estimated by the Manila Police District at 15,000 people strong, shouted back: “Trillanes!”
      The smiling justice secretary then told the crowd: “Oh tulungan ninyo ako ha.”

      This is the reality of Philippine politics. A politics of personal vengeance.

    9. The intelligence of Sen. Leila De Lima to that of Former Pres. Joseph Estrada is “BEYOND COMPARE” !!!
      The good Senator would not be depositing her drug money (If the accusations against her are true) under the name of “Josefa Velarde” through a certain “Claro Ocampo”…Ergo , “MONEY TRAIL” maybe difficult or even impossible to present . However , as no human being is perfect … somewhere , somehow , a prosecutor could possibly unearth a concrete evidence to pin a guilty person down … MAY THE TRUTH PREVAILS !!!

    10. I admire Mr. Ronqullio but I think it best to understand that the former Secretary of DOJ doesn’t have to hide her loot
      inside the bank knowing fully well that there will be an air tight scrutiny against her. De Lima will not be foolish to contradict her own SALN while in government.
      But consider this, to run for Senator a decent spending in order to win will be more than a hundred million pesos. This is not to include the Party’s resources.
      So the court can always audit other source of spending to draw evidence. That is just one trail…Have anyone heard of a vault being kept by a politician just to keep the fruit of his corruption? Only in the Philippines..

    11. This is double standard of the highest order. You guys could not trace – in spite of all that money Marcos was moving around to buy buildings in Manhattan, Imelda’s fantastic jewelry collection and artworks of the masters as detailed in the New York criminal trial prosecuted by no less than the hot shot Rudy Giuliani – even a single dollar of Marcos’ money to an illegitimate source, which then inevitably resulted in a not guilty verdict. After this setback, the Davide Supreme Court, to comply with the condition that there must be a judgment against Marcos, refused to accept his reply to the forfeiture case against the $600M held in escrow in Singapore because they already knew from the New York trial that Marcos had a perfectly satisfactory explanation for every thing, and came up with a SUMMARY JUDGMENT, which is something totally unheard of in the civilized world. Marcos showed in the NY trial the paper trail to prove that none of that money was ill gotten, but of course that truth was completely unacceptable to the wild eyed yellow zealots. As for the liar Clarissa Ocampo, she was not a member of the account management team that was handling the Dichaves aka Jose Velarde account, the real management team said so in the Sandiganbayan trial. Its obvious she was sent to Erap (by whom only she knows) to frame him up. That account belonged to Jaime Dichaves, not to Erap. How do you guys find it so easy to engage in these moral calisthenics just to make the yellow hypocrites always looking lily white? I willing to bet that if they produce the paper trail you will insist that it is fake news.

    12. give the court a chance to prove its worth. d5 cannot be tried through media hypes. it has to be the court, the only justice system that shall uphold the law. she has her day now, drama is over…she could start singing a different tune if she would….

    13. With the “mother of all druglords” already in jail, why are there drugs stil being peddled? Just asking,

    14. You are asking about the money trail? Kung ikaw ba naman si De Lima ipapasok mo ba sa bangko ang pera na galling sa illegal drugs, napaka stupid mo naman kung gagawin mo yan. Galing nga sa iligal at ikaw pa mismo ang gagawa ng dokumento na pwedeng gamitin sa yo, ang dapat na ginawa nya ay nag-produce sya ng ebidensya na hindi nangyari ang lahat ng ibinibintang sa kanya,

      Kahit na anong gawin natin ang katotohanan ay katotohanan! Ang matindi sa salitang karma, alam natin na meron kaya lang di lang natin alam kung kalian darating…yan ang istorya ni Leila De Lima.

    15. Liar DeLema,I await with bated breath,will justice be done…as a long time visitor to the Philippines an interesting time is in front of us all,maybe this alone answers the question,after all,it is impossible for her as a top notch lawyer not to know what went on in the prison system>It is hard to invest in your country when there is corruption almost in every goverment department.I have observered the last 40 years the troubled times of this great country.there is no doubt in my mind that the path of Rody will be a turning point as was Marcos..

    16. Aguirre has been searching night and day for this money trail because he knows this will surely put De Lima to jail but he was unsuccessful. Either De Lima is innocent or she is just very smart. My opinion , De Lima is very smart and Aguirre is just plain stupid. To Aguirre, do you think you can stop DeLima from talking. She is like a lion and a dragon rolled into one.

    17. Abdolutely right no evidence to back up charges of sec 5 and trading of illegal drugs vs de lima. It will be like walk in the park for his acquittal. Testimonies of convicts are not enough, coz they have no credibiliy. No money paper trail. The verdict is acquittal for failure to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

    18. For this writer (Ronquillo) there is no such thing ENOUGH EVIDENCE against DELIMA. Even if the AMLC provides the money trail against the Queen of Drug Protectors itong si Yellow Cult writer Ronquillo maghahanap pa rin ng lusot!

    19. When is an illegal drug transaction have money trail? Drug lords and pushers does not pay or recieved checks in their illegal transactions. Even drug lords of Columbia and Mexico always pays in hard cash, thats why you can be investigated in the US if are carrying large amounts of cash. Druglords smuggle cash out of the US to Mexico or Columbia.. As a writer you should know better than this.

    20. How did one know that she was an elected senator, like the way the vp won? because of smartmatic?

      How can one get information from the AMLC, who is hiding information and obstructing? NBI was once working with the accused, would they want to be exposed also?

      A prison that has become a party house and financing house for a politician collecting funds to bribe comelec and smartmatic is acceptable and just? – that is enough reason to rot in jail.

      Paid media ability to twist facts and divert attention, to fool and misled is no longer effective. Not at this period of quick communications.

      • Only solid proof and money trail is acceptable in court not hearsay. If you have the proof then better show it and give it to Aguirre.

    21. Delima is corrupt and involved in the drug trade. The public does not need to pass judgement before the trial is over and the media does not need to expose the prosecution’s facts. All of this will happen in a court of law and Delima will begin serving her sentence in a real jail after she is convicted.

      • When is this trial supposed to happen ?

        This is the Philippines ya know where the average wait for a trial is 6 or 7 years.
        De Lima could sit in jail for 6 or more years before a trial even starts.

        Look at the pork barrel trials of Revilla, Estrada and Napoles, It’s been 3 years and the trials have not even started
        It’s been 3 years waiting for the law enforcement agencies to charge the 117 other lawmakers in congress that stole the pork barrel fund.

        The government seems content to just charge the 3 opposition senators and let the other thieves keep their kickbacks and escape justice.

        I expected Aquino’s administration to protect his liberal party even tho they looted the country but kind of hoped Duterte would not let them get away with it but it appears Duterte’s administration doesn’t care either.

        Nothing ever really changes in the Philippines does it ?

    22. DOJ Sec Aguirre is a top notch lawyer. y He knows what needs to be done to earn a conviction of De5. They are secretly working through the AMLC to uncover the accounts connected to De5.

      • DO YOU REALLY THINK SO? Up to now Aguirre is not showing much promise of being an intelligent lawyer which is noticeable if you are reading the news everyday he is really a lawyer with no substance. I suggest you read and digest every words regarding Aguirre’s FAKE NEWS from the case of Jee Ick Koo’s supposed killer the Korean Mafia which has no solid proof, the millions supposed bribery money for the convicted criminals not to testify against de Lima which the two politicians he mentioned denies and demanding apology otherwise they will file a case against him, to the fake ambush of his informant the wife of one convicted criminal currently in prison. DOES THAT MAKE AGUIRRE A TOP NOTCH LAWYER TO YOU?


      • than why risk the possibility of dismissal on the current evidence which is flimsy at best why not wait until the case is airtight as you allude to.

    23. Anak ng tipaklong itong writer na ito. Bulag ka ba o nagbubulag bulagan kasi natakpan ng salapi ang mata mo. Panahon pa ni Pinoy ay kitang kita mo naman kung paano ginawang opisina ng negosyo ng shabu ang kulungan sa Munti, Ginawa rin itong entertainment city kompleto sa concert sa loob ng bakuran ng kulungan. Ang mga nakakulong na mga Drug Lords namamayagpag sa salapi at lahat ng luho nila’y naibibigay kasama na alak at babae. Meron pa silang broadcast studio pa sila! Ngayon, sino bang ahensyan ang may poder sa kulungan ng Munti- DOJ, sino ba ang kalihim ng DOJ? De Lima. Hindi ka naman siguro tanga na hindi mo nalalaman ang nangyayari sa bakuran mo. Sana kung minsan lang, ang problema taon nilang ginagawa ito!

    24. Well written marlen. I wrote i think in a comment in either the manila times or another publication saying the same thing but not as professionally you have put it. With all this alleged money & money used to fund he run for president it should be so easy to show that money wasnt legit as in the case of chief justice corona. & its strange didnt trillanes say du30 has unexplained wealth & he answered with he will open his accounts, well has he opened them yet & if not why not. I have very few doubts in my mind that du30 & his attack squad have targeted delima because of her targeting him over the davao death squads. Du30’s next target i think will be trillanes, i guess that as i write this a plan is being drawn up on how best to attack him. But back to delima who in their right mind would take the word of any of those drug dealers. They are scum of the worst kind. Yet de lima has zero blemishes on her work in politics.

      • Trillanes has so far no hidden wealth or corruption to his name only his Oakwood mutiny case.But Duterte with his henchmen everywhere would really like to take Trillanes life if given a chance.

      • Yet de lima has zero blemishes on her work in politics.

        Protecting the liberal party pork barrel thieves from charges is not a blemish ?

        There are 120 names on the Napoles list
        20 senators
        100 house of reps

        Only 3 opposition senators arrested

        De Lima protected the liberal party from being charged.

    25. Hayaan mo nang makulong, Makaganti lang si GMA sa ginawa nya na wala namang napatunayang bintang. Kung mali ang bintang kay De Lima nakaranas din sya ng pagkakulong para karma. Dapat nga tanggalan din sya ng telepono at computer para di makatawag sa ibang bansa.

    26. For several months the people have been asking SOJ Aguirre why DeLima has not been arrested. For several months the AMLC has been stonewalling the investigation of the money trail. Last month a new AMLC chief was appointed and now finally DeLima was arrested. Hallelujah!

      • Actually AMLC has already submitted the bank transactions that Aguirre was asking but so far he said there is no money trail in De Limas accounts. VACC decided to file a case against de Limas instead helped by DOJ.