Solicitor General Jose Calida on Monday joined a coalition led by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) that has called for the prosecution of Senator Leila de Lima who was accused of receiving drug money.
Calling De Lima the state’s Public Enemy No. 1, Calida said the lawmaker should not be allowed “to make a mockery of our justice system and get away with it.”
An ethics complaint was filed against the former Justice secretary for advising her former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan to ignore the summons issued by the Justice panel of the House of Representatives that investigated the rampant drug operations inside the national penitentiary.
Dayan, who eventually appeared at the House, said de Lima told him to hide and not attend the congressional inquiry.
The solicitor general offered his services to the complainants who filed complaints against De Lima at the Department of Justice, Office of the Ombudsman and other venues for her alleged complicity in the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison.
“The SolGen can also act and represent the people before any court, tribunal, body or commission in any manner, action or proceedings which, in his opinion, affects the welfare of the people as the ends of justice may require. Thus, he is also the tribune and protector of the people,” Calida told reporters.
Aside from the VACC, the other members of the Coalition Against Illegal Drugs are Republic Defenders, Citizen’s Crime Watch, Conform to Federalism, United Filipino Seafarers, and former National Bureau of Investigation officials Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala.
“Senator de Lima unleashed a torrent of nasty and destabilizing tirades against President Duterte’s war on drugs. She also flaunted her disdain to be investigated by the House of Representatives and the Department of Justice for the crimes she committed. Her shenanigans demand a more vigorous response from the government she wants to destroy. The people are disgusted with her rants. So are we,” Calida said.
Jimenez led the signing of a manifest of concern that condemned De Lima’s actuations and demeanor for making a mockery of the rule of law.
“We call on Senator De Lima to let the wheel of justice take its rightful course without her blatant maneuverings and evasive antics that are stalling the process,” he said.
The VACC founding chairman revealed that De Lima has a sister in The Netherlands and she may not attend the preliminary investigation of her case at the DOJ set on December 21.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd said the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) had forwarded to his office the bank statements of de Lima and other personalities linked to the drug trade.
However, he refused to disclose details, saying he has yet to study the documents.
Jimenez said De Lima could not forever hide behind her claim of political persecution to evade the charges filed against her.