The spectacle of De Lima’s arrest



First read
IS it the media or the event? Do we blame the dancer or the dance?

By the time Senator Leila de Lima was arrested by the authorities yesterday, I was weary of the story and the spectacle.

Philippine media are so adept in covering breaking news blow-by-blow, minute-by-minute, you long for the moment when you can no longer hear or see the thing.

Since O J. Simpson made his mad dash for freedom and was pursued in the streets of Los Angeles in 1994, every happening involving a celebrity (political, cultural, or just plain notorious) has become a media event in this country.

I should not really complain because I probably contributed my share to creating De Lima’s celebrity and notoriety (two columns on her in the span of months). Without my two cents, and the two cents of others, De Lima’s arrest would have been an event as humdrum as the arrest of anyone who runs afoul of the law.

To De Lima’s credit, it was her public persona and melodramatics that impelled the wide-ranging coverage of
her arrest. It’s not her fault that every politician and public official sought to have their two cents quoted by the media. She had nothing to do with Vice President Leni Robredo’s depiction of her arrest as “political harassment”; nor did she ask Senator Francis Pangilinan to posture on the legality of her arrest.

When a happening becomes a media event, everyone wants their two cents to be quoted. It’s an opportunity to land in the media.

Saga of De Lima vs Duterte

The subtext of De Lima’s arrest is that it is a continuation of a decade-long joust between Leila de Lima and Rodrigo Duterte.

In an enlightening report, Agence France Presse (AFP) has commendably presented a chronology of a curious relationship between the senator and the President. Until I read the report, I had no idea their evidently licit relationship stretched so far back.

AFP reported that De Lima has waged “a decade-long crusade to expose Duterte as the leader of death squads that have killed thousands of people.”

She contends that the Duterte government has manufactured the drug charges against her to silence her investigations into the killings that were allegedly orchestrated by Duterte during his time as mayor of Davao City.

The news service then listed “the key moments” in the battle between De Lima and Duterte, to wit:

March 2009

De Lima, then head of the government’s Commission on Human Rights, flies to Davao and begins a public inquiry into the alleged death squads in the city.

“I am bothered by statements attributed to him (Duterte)… which tend to condone this phenomenon of illegal or vigilante-style killings,” De Lima says of the inquiry.

To this, Duterte responds: “If there is an iota of evidence that we are involved in the killings, I will submit to you, at the end of the day, my resignation as city mayor.”

June 2012

The rights commission, after De Lima stepped down to become justice secretary, finds that “there was a systematic practice of extrajudicial killings” in Davao.

De Lima then orders the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which is part of the justice department, to launch a probe into the alleged death squads.

May 2016

Duterte is elected President after pledging during the campaign to kill 100,000 criminals. De Lima separately wins a seat in the Senate.

Days after the election, the justice department announces that it has closed its investigation into the death squads because the last witness had fled a safe house run by the department’s witness protection program.

August 2016

Duterte accuses De Lima of running a drug trafficking ring with criminals inside the nation’s biggest prison to help fund her Senate election campaign.

De Lima, as head of the Senate justice and human rights committee, launches public hearings on alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in Duterte’s drug war. A self-declared Davao Death Squad assassin testifies in the Senate that he and others killed about 1,000 people from 1998 to 2013 on Duterte’s orders. Duterte allies in the Senate depose De Lima as committee head days later.

September 2016

Several drug gang leaders at the country’s main prison testify at the House of Representatives and repeat Duterte’s allegations that De Lima and her driver-bodyguard engaged in drugs trafficking.

December 2016

The Senate drug-war inquiry, now chaired by a Duterte ally, concludes that the President and the state are not responsible for extra-judicial killings.

February 17, 2017

The justice department files drug trafficking charges against De Lima. Four days later, De Lima brands Duterte a “serial killer” and calls for the people to show courage and oust him.

February 24, 2017

De Lima is arrested.

For De Lima and Duterte, the idiom “no love lost” is most appropriate.

The idiom means there are “no feelings of respect, admiration, or affection” in their curious relationship. It won’t surprise me if each says a prayer every night that the other would die.

Rigor of due process

The De Lima case will now go through the rigor of due process.

The senator’s lawyers will demand that De Lima should be brought to a judge by the government official or agency confining her, and that the official justify her confinement.

Under constitutional law, due process provides that “no person shall be deprived of life, life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied equal protection of the laws.”

There are two kinds of due process:

1. Substantive due process—it requires the intrinsic validity of the law in interfering with the rights of the person to life, liberty or property.

2. Procedural due process—this means that the law hears before it condemns, proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment only after trial.

Assuming that the Department of Justice can justify the arrest and confinement of De Lima, her case will then go to trial.

The contest then becomes a battle of proof and legal arguments

Can the government prove its charge that De Lima engaged in the illegal trafficking of drugs within the national penitentiary (New Bilibid Prisons) and used drug money to fund her campaign for the Senate?

The defense will seek to poke holes and destroy the government’s case. De Lima will turn to human rights lawyers to marshal her defense. She will count on the support of her Liberal Party colleagues and the yellows to help her weather her ordeal.

It is a cornerstone of our system of criminal justice that a defendant is “innocent until proven guilty.”

The presumption of innocence is essential, because the burden of proof rightly belongs to the party that makes the accusation.

The defendant does not have to prove anything. The defense may even rely on just raising doubts about the prosecution’s case.

In the De Lima case, the testimony of inmates (drug lords) will interestingly be crucial for the government’s case.

Stakes for Liberals and Duterte

The prestige and standing of many will hang on how the De Lima case is prosecuted and resolved.

The Liberal Party and the yellows have stakes in this legal battle. Their potency and cohesion as the political opposition will be tested during the trial.

De Lima’s conviction will enfeeble Liberal opposition in more ways than just removing one voice in the Senate.
The heart of Liberal opposition to Duterte could sustain lasting damage.

Duterte and his administration have equally high stakes in the De Lima case.

For Duterte, De Lima’s trial in open court will manifest the effectiveness of his government. It shows that DU30 has seized the engines of power in government. If De Lima is convicted of the charges, it will be a victory of surpassing import for the President and for his war on drugs.


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  1. My response to this article is if de lima was getting all this money from these top drugs lords there will be a money trail. There will be bank accounts. If you cant find them then look at how all her election campaign was paid, was it in cash, & if its legit she will be able to show it. I for one wouldnt believe a word from a single drug pusher. These top guys what have they been promised. They are scum of the worst kind & probably even their own mothers wouldnt believe a single word from their mouths. Now if there is no paper trail of this money they supposedly gave her then its very simple, they didnt give it to her. Anyone can say anything, now proving it is a different matter & the one telling lies will find it harder to prove.

  2. It is a cornerstone of our system of criminal justice that a defendant is “innocent until proven guilty.”

    The presumption of innocence is essential, because the burden of proof rightly belongs to the party that makes the accusation.

    The defendant does not have to prove anything. The defense may even rely on just raising doubts about the prosecution’s case.****

    That is the irony of it all and The Lord certainly abhors that. Even if a man knows in himself that he is the true criminal , he can make use of this provision in the law making the act extremely evil. That law was invented to save the culprit.

    By imputing “presumptive innocence” to a true criminal , he is already acquitted. So the laws are made for sinners not for the righteous. They make an extremely wicked provision appears good in the eyes of men. And they shamelessly declare their evil creation—A man is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    This set-up provide a good escape for the affluent criminals. The longer the time that so-called “due process” takes its course , huge amount of money is allowed to flow into the hands of the judges. This is the evil that is going on in this world from the time money and laws were invented by men.

    And because of the prevalence of bias and prejudice in judgement , The Lord himself has made a decree , “by your words you will be acquitted , and by your words you will be condemned”.

    In this way , the burden of proof and the condemnation of the guilty no longer depends on the one who accuses but on the criminal himself. And he cannot escape The Lord’s verdict.

    Naturally , a criminal will not testify against himself but will utilize all escape routes made available to him by the law. So the judge must be so innovative and creative just like Solomon to entice the criminal to go out of his comfort zone without him knowing it. And thereby exposing himself as the true criminal.

    This is where Duterte upend the enemies. To entice the criminals to go out and speak out—he simulate murder and pretend to be a killer. What resulted is an avalanche of witnesses who are testifying against him. In the process , exposing their criminal activities such as Matobato , and lately , Lascanas. Take note if these two live up to their own testimonies as real murderers , then they should be put in jail and should be convicted for murder!

    And to mind everybody , it was de Lima and Trillanes who had brought Matobato to the senate for cross-examination. Was there a connivance among them? A self-confessed criminal being harbored by hidden criminals?

    Now , de Lima keeps on heaping invective upon the president–serial killer , psychopath , mass murderer , extra-judicial killings , etc.

    Bear in mind that only a very thin line separates the truth from the lie when the two are written on paper.

    However in reality , that thin line actually does not exist , so that the truth appears as the lie , and the lie appears as the truth in the crucible of the mind. That is why they readily lend themselves to switching places , so easily , when uttered by an angry individual. That anger brings forth the truth!

    Senator de Lima’s own tongue has fallen against herself—by your words you will be acquitted , and by your words you will be condemned. Is she not condemning herself with all the accusations she herself blurted out in anger and hatred?

    Is she not the serial killer , psychopath , mass murderer , extra-judicial killer?

  3. First read First read First read First read First read First read First read First read First read…..

    Yes moron start at the top not the bottom

  4. The truth as told by Matobato, Lascanas and hopefully another one to form a formidable trio will set De Lima free. Nagalit ng husto si Gordon dahil nagmukha siyang gago for immediately discrediting Matobato.

    And come to think of it, if Gordon was really pissed and believed that Lascanas lied to him the first time, then he should be more pissed na pwede palang totoo ang DDS.

    But if he really believes that the DDS is not true, then as a very intelligent person he should be happy to have the chance to disprove the allegations kuno. Ang problema nga lang niya ay pag may sumipot pang pangatlo.

    • Truth does not dwell in the mouth of wicked men. As Christ testified about the Devil—John 8:44 (ESV)
      44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.
      He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
      When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

      Matobato and Lascanas are murderers , therefore their father is the evil one who is a liar from the beginning. The father of lies produce offsprings which are also liars.
      If these two lied the first time , they would be lying all their lives because their father is a liar for all time.

  5. “KARMA”. And most of all “What goes around comes around”. Both always have their consequences. I have a favorite adage which goes “It is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice”.

  6. John Chameleon on

    De Lima is immoral.
    She divulge her adulterous relationship with a married man, Ronnie Dayan, and dismiss this as frailties of a woman. Without any qualm and respect of the law, she engaged in an affair that is illegal, dissolute and out.

    De Lima is corrupt.
    When she was the Sick-retary of Justice, luxurious kubols were built inside the Bilibid enjoyed by high-profile inmates. This was even covered by the foreign media. Only Mexico’s Quintero and his buddy were able to do that. The construction was a strong evidence that she is corrupt.

    De Lima is a drug protector.
    JV Sebastian was almost killed from stab wounds after De Lima revealed that Sebastian was an “asset” which Sebastian vehemently denied. The revelation was done by the brazen De Lima when Sebastian testified that she received millions of pesos contributed by the drug lords inside the Bilibid though himself as the collector. All the contributors conceded to the allegation. DeLimas “asset” expose was a clever subterfuge to obliterate a witness but it just failed.

    Now the presstitutes are ganging up on her for reports that would tell about her empty accusations against the President, from the DDS to EJK. She had been a CHR head, a DOJ secretary and not a Senator but she still can’t establish solid evidence to support her attacks on the President. She must be making money to sustain the greed of the hacks.

    Though Lascanas made a 180-turnaround on the DDS matter, still he is untrustworthy as his testimonies in the investigation before was under oath, With that, he has to face a perjury case for giving fals by thee Senate itself.e testimonies. Lascanas was just intelligent to dupe a boneheaded, shameless Senate to re-investigate. Respect of the law was thrown to the waste can.

    Now, De Lima is arrested. The law was enforced. Yet her co-yellow puppets are again as usual picking the President that she is a “political prisoner” and the case is “harassment.” Well, we can’t blame them nor their greed as they were used to rule the country to favor the oligarchs and the elites whom Duterte dissed. De Lima will be rightfully tried and investigated as a Narco-politician and the drug lords are certainly not happy with this event.

  7. Mr. Yen I’m just curious whats the difference between Jingoy and Bong to D5 considering that D5 can still do her routine job in the senate while the two men cannot.

  8. The AFP article intends to misled its reader if not to misinform. It has an inaccurate information that tend to show its bias against PRRD. For instance, what did Delima do when she was DOJ chief after her investigation on the issue while CHR chairwoman. “De Lima orders the National Bureau of Investigation, which is part of her justice department, to launch a probe into the alleged death squads.” said AFP in its report. In all of six years when she was more powerful than then Mayor Duterte, she did not file charges against him, or at least the article did not say so. There was an unexplained large gap of activity on the issue between 2012 and 2016, or until their election to their respective current offices. AFP shouldn’t treat all their readers as idiot.

  9. This is a good timeline written without bias. I agree the with comment that a conviction of Delima probably will mean the end of the LP and a boost to the war on drugs.

  10. the thing here, delima let the inmates do what they want inside the bilibid prison. nobody will believe that delima knew nothing about it. delima has many “eyes”. imposible na walang nakarating ke delima about the little las vegas inside the bilibid prison. even sebastian said na sarsuela lang yung raid nung dec 2014 or dec 2015 (could not remember the year)

  11. Leodegardo M. Pruna on

    Any accused like De5 would deny to its teeth any wrong doing even if there is truth to it. That is what the parties accusing each other are doing. But surely, one and only one is on the right side or none at all. In this particular case, with circumstantial evidence having been presented, the party now who is loudly harping innocents and crying foul knows where it stands. The truth will surely be known and justice served. At the moment, what is initially being experience is KARMA for De5. God bless the Philippines.

  12. Yeah, for ten years of digging a pit for the Mayor-elected-President Duterte, the digger de Lima fell unto the pit she had openly dug. Here is a couple of Bible verses the senator (and her sympathizers) can start reflecting on: Psalms 7:15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made; Proverbs 26:27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. The more the opposition “hurt” the President Duterte, the more he glistens as a raw diamond effuses its luster after a lot of “cutting.”
    Back to the arrest, there was nothing like that when then Senators Johnny Enrile, Jinggoy and Bong had their day. You are right, Yen. Was it the media? Or did she call the media?

  13. This time I agree with you Mr.Makabenta with regards to De Lima saga. I will never forget that scene a few years back when the ailing GMA so anorexic and obviously needs treatment and was ready for flight at the airport when De Lima with unabashed cruelty halted her travel without court order. President Arroyo already down and powerless was still being kicked by Noynoy’s minions and De Lima viciously acted on their mob bidding .De Lima adeptly capitalized on this media spectacle to sustain her senatorial ambition. The yellow supporters of De Lima dont realize that filipinos from all walks of life dont give a hoot what happen to De Lima,satiated and no longer needs her lover she disposed him, kawawa naman si lover boy Dayan umiiyak live on TV while being escorted on way to jail kasama ang pamilya.It is the dancer, the singer who should be blamed for this spectacle,

    • The media is also to blame for giving in to the dramatics of the yellows as if they are always the victims and not the criminals. What they did to GMA was the worst and a clear injustice.

    • Tell us all since her release from house arrest has gma gone abroad for this life saving treatment that was so urgently needed right before her arrest. If not why not. She hasnt been treated for it in her house arrest so surely she urgently needs this treatment to save her life.