LEILA TO FILE WRIT OF AMPARO
Asserting that if anything happens to her, the number 1 suspect would be President Duterte, embattled Sen. Leila de Lima said as she is now convinced to file a petition for a writ of amparo given the recent statements of Mr. Duterte which she claimed proved the threat against her life and security was serious.
De Lima noted that the “veiled threat” Mr. Duterte made in mentioning her name in passing, during Monday’s speech in which the President said “he did not order anyone to kill the senator or anyone in his war against drugs.”A writ of amparo (Spanish for protection) is a legal remedy that bars the government, particularly military officers, to issue denials during judicial proceedings on disappearances or extrajudicial executions.
“That’s the only remedy I’m thinking of at this point. This time around, since it’s a threat, I consider it a veiled threat, I’m thinking of (filing for) a writ of amparo,” she said.
Besides Duterte, the senator said she will also include among the respondents her perennial critics such as Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Solicitor General Jose Calida and also the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) especially those who raised funds encouraging others to join and form a group against her.
“(This is to) to tell them to stop threatening me, to tell them to stop issuing statements that can incite people, whether their own allies, their own supporters or other elements to harm me. That is the essence of the (writ of) amparo,” she said.
“He (Duterte) has been repeatedly saying that I’m the leading narco-politician and public enemy No. 1 (that) makes me already a fair game for sinister things. If anything happens to me, sho else will be the number 1 suspect? Nobody but him,” she said.
“And I’m making him responsible if something happens to me. Take my word or note my word: if something happens to me, he is the one responsible, directly and indirectly,” the senator satted.
The senator was referring to last Monday’s speech of the President where he reiterated that policemen should defend themselves in carrying out legitimate operations and not to obey illegal orders.
He mentioned the name of the senator in passing, saying that he never issued any order to kill de Lima or anyone in his war against drugs.
“All of his statements related to killings are already disturbing to me. But this is doubly disturbing to me personally. I take it as a veiled threat. Why, all of a sudden he will mention my name when he talks about killings?”, she asked.
“So logically, I am included among their targets. So I’m taking this seriously,” de Lima added.
“He said, ‘go out and hunt them, arrest them if it’s possible and if not, then if they present danger to you, puts up a violent resistance, jeopardizing your life – shoot. That has always been my order. Ask any policeman if I ordered him to kill de Lima or kill anyone’ and then there was a noted, uneasy pause. That’s disturbing to me,” the senator said.
“So is that a subconscious slip? A sort of a Freudian slip? I know that I’m always on top of his mind. When he starts to talk about drugs, you can be sure my name will be dragged into it. But this is the first time that my name was mentioned when the topic is killings, right? So I’m taking this seriously. This is a veiled threat,” De Lima said.
Leila says mayors
should also worry
There’s also no reason for the mayors and other local officials being referred to by the President not to be worried about their well-being, given the strong pronouncements issued by Duterte, de Lima said.
“He is now threatening mayors in the so-called narco-list, so are we going to take that threat seriously? Of course,” she said.
“What else is new? It always happens that way. He issues a threat and then it becomes real? He threatened the addicts, pushers, small-time traffickers during the campaign period and then he keeps on threatening up to now and we have more than 6,000 corpses,” de Lima said.
“So it was unintentional. So since it’s some kind of a slip, then the idea that I’m part of the threat or being threatened is there, is very much in existence. The intention is there,” de Lima insisted.
In light of this, de Lima said she is now considering filing a petition for a writ of amparo even as her petition for the writ of habeas data is still pending before the SC.
“Although both are related (writ of habeas data) and (writ of) amparo, my petition has a different thrust. It’s about those statements about me. Now, this time around, since it’s a threat – I consider it a veiled threat – I’m thinking of writ of amparo,” she said.
Disbarment case proceeds
The Supreme Court (SC) also took notice of the disbarment complaints against embattled Senator de Lima and ordered her to answer it.
Court spokesman Theodore Te said acting on the administrative complaint filed by lawyer Fernando Perito, the SC directed de Lima to submit her comment to the complaint-affidavit for disbarment within 10 days from her receiving the notice of the court’s resolution.
Other disbarment complaints against de Lima, which included her alleged defiance in following a SC temporary restraining order (TRO) issued November 2011 when she stopped former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo from leaving the country for medical treatment, remains pending.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Aguirre said de Lima’s admission of a romantic affair with her former driver has strengthened the disbarment case filed against her.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), together with former NBI officials Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala and whistle blower Sandra Cam, accused De Lima of gross immorality, violation of the Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility in the disbarment complaint.
Aside from allegations of benefiting from the illegal drug trade inside the Bilibid, the complainants also mentioned de Lima’s alleged illicit relationship with her former driver Ronnie Dayan.
The complaint cited the testimony of Joenel Sanchez, a former close-in aide of de Lima and a member of the Presidential Security Group, who before the Congress said he saw the two videos of de Lima when he managed to pry into Dayan’s phone. Sanchez also described de Lima’s closeness to Dayan.
“Measured against the definition of gross immorality, we find Senator de Lima’s actions grossly immoral. Her actions were so corrupt as to approximate a criminal act, for she has a relationship with a married man, who in all appearances, was married to another and with whom he has a family. Her actions were also unprincipled and reprehensible to the highest degree,” the complaint stated.
“All these taken together leads to the inescapable conclusion that respondent (de Lima) was grossly imprudent in managing her personal affairs. The fact remains that her relationship with Ronnie Dayan, a married man, is grossly immoral. Worse, she never denied such relationship,” it added.
Aguirre added de Lima was retaliating when she threatened to launch a Senate probe into the alleged P50-million extortion case involving two dismissed Bureau of Immigration (BI) executives and a Chinese gaming tycoon.
De Lima, who is currently facing six criminal cases before the Department of Justice (DoJ), filed a resolution in the Senate yesterday to have the justice secretary and former BI deputy commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles probed over an extortion scandal involving Chinese gaming tycoon Jack Lam.
In a media briefing yesterday, Aguirre said de Lima should just leave the case to the four investigating bodies currently probing the bribery scandal, noting that the case is already saturated. The justice secretary described the senator’s initiative to launch a Senate probe as an equivalent to “beating a dead horse.”
“There are already many investigating bodies probing it. There’s the Bureau of Immigration, the Department of Justice, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Ombudsman. She will only add up to it,” Aguirre pointed out.
“She should just answer the cases filed against her. She doesn’t need to add up to this probe. It’s too much. It’s already saturated. She’s just beating a dead horse,” he said.
Aguirre however maintained that Senator de Lima has the right to launch a Senate probe into the alleged extortion case, provided that the investigation is in aid of legislation.
“It’s her right [to launch a probe in aid of legislation]. If it is clear that there is a need for such legislation, then what kind of legislation should be attained by launching an investigation?” Aguirre said.
“Of course, we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, that she filed this in good faith,” he said.
Dismissed BI deputy commissioners Argosino and Robles have been accused of extorting P50-million from Lam for the release of 600 of over 1,300 Chinese illegal workers detained in connection with illegal online gambling operations in Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino.
It was reported that the exchange was caught on CCTV footage at the City of Dreams in Pasay City, where the duo was seen receiving five bags of cash containing P10-million each from Lam’s middleman Wally Sombrero.
De Lima wants Trillanes
to handle probe
De Lima, however, no longer wants the blue ribbon committee to handle her proposed investigation on the Chinese gambling mogul Jack Lam’s alleged bribe try on Aguirre and another case of supposed bribery involving two Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials.
De Lima will ask to have the Senate committee on civil service and government reorganizations chaired by Sen. Antonio Trillanes take up the issue instead.
“I’m thinking of replacing the resolution that I filed directing the blue ribbon committee to look into the matter because basically what I wanted to investigate is the incident itself, the bribery scandal,” the senator said.
“I will withdraw the resolution and replace it with a modified one, one that will follow more or less the Drilon resolution because it’s wider (in scope),” she added.
De Lima, in an interview with reporters said it has come to her attention, after she effected the filing of Resolution 258 that Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon has already filed a resolution on the same issue and it has been referred to Trillanes’ committee.
By having the same issues investigated separately by the two committees might only cause confusion as the respective panels may not have the needed focus in digging deep into the issues.
“I learned and I saw a copy of the resolution of Drilon which was earlier filed and the resolution seeks an inquiry in aid of legislation into the possible re-organization of the BI, citing this scandal,” she said.
Julius Leonen, Benjamin B. Pulta