Press Release
April 18, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 286:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on Supreme Court's dismissal of her petition to nullify her arrest warrant on trumped-up illegal drug trade charge


I am deeply disappointed by the announcement yesterday that the Supreme Court has denied my Motion for Reconsideration of its earlier Decision to dismiss my Petition for Certiorari questioning, among others, the validity of the original charge filed against me by the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors before the RTC of Muntinlupa, Br. 204, and the jurisdiction of the regular courts to hear and decide the same.

I am disappointed but hardly surprised.

After all, my legal team, led by former Solicitor General Florin T. Hilbay, has more than ably presented and argued our position that the allegations in the Information amount to no crime at all. After all, none of the inculpatory allegations are attributable to me; they all pertained to the self-confessed drug lords who allegedly traded illegal drugs and delivered money to persons other than me. At most, the allegations amount to bribery, which falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan to hear, try and decide.

It is disheartening because our case is clearly meritorious. And I say that as plainly and as objectively as I possibly could.

No one who has read the records and the Information filed by the DOJ can make a mistake about that. In fact, even as the Supreme Court voted--9 to 6--to dismiss my Petition, the separate opinions of the members of the Court showed that there was absolutely no consensus as to what is the true nature of the charge against me. Only five (5) of the nine (9) justices agree that the crime charged is Illegal Drug Trading (the original accusation of the DOJ), not Conspiracy to Commit Drug Trading (the subsequent accusation of the OSG). Some members agreed that it amounted to, at most, bribery.

Therefore, it is difficult to understand how an impartial tribunal can allow a citizen to remain under detention when even they themselves cannot agree on the nature of the charge. Is that not the very definition of lack of due process? That, basically, is the question we posed in our MR.

I would, therefore, be very interested to see why the SC denied it. And I withhold further comments until I have seen and read its ruling.

In any event, the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors has "amended" the Information. This is a clear admission that they are unable to allege, much less prove, the corpus delicti that would qualify the case against me as "drug charges", whether consummated or mere conspiracy. How can I be charged for either offense when the prosecution hasn't even said what type of drugs was allegedly traded? Or how much of it was traded? Or who are the buyers and sellers? Yet, beyond all reason, that's what I am to be charged with.

It is legally untenable, but politically predictable: it must be drug charges simply because that is a non-bailable offense.

Worse is the blatant failure--nay, refusal--of the DOJ to prosecute and hold accountable the self-confessed drug lords. They even withdrew the charges against the co-accused who admitted that he received money from the inmates! Presumably, that is the deal that was struck in exchange for their false testimonies against me. And this makes this whole miscarriage of justice even more sickening.

But all these merely prove that my case is not about prosecution, but persecution. They don't care about charging me with the "correct" offense. They don't even care about holding real drug lords accountable. This is not about winning the "War against Drugs". All they really want is to detain me indefinitely, in order to prevent me from performing my mandate as a duly elected Senator of the Republic. This is about winning the "War against De Lima."

Nevertheless, I vow to continue fighting for my innocence. Because I am innocent. No lie can ever change that fact. Someday I will attain my vindication, and all the lies--especially the lies about the deaths of the thousands of victims of the so-called "War on Drugs"--will be exposed, and the butchers, tyrants and oppressors will be brought to answer for their crimes against the Constitution and against humanity.

Tuloy ang laban!

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