De Lima: No sense in letting cases drag on
I read, with appreciation, your editorial “Unraveling case” (10/6/20) from my detention quarters.
The factual account of the editorial regarding the trial of my cases is fairly accurate. Up to now, in the last two minutes of the trial in two of the three cases filed by President Duterte’s minions at the Department of Justice, the government is yet to prove any of its allegations that I conspired in and benefited from the Bilibid drug trade.
First, the prosecution’s main witness Peter Co has repeatedly denied being a drug lord, therefore dashing all their efforts to prove that whatever money supposedly changed hands came from the trading of drugs. In one case, Peter Co categorically said that the alleged drug money involved was actually ransom money for his niece who was kidnapped by the Philippine National Police’s own “ninja cops,” and that it was actually sourced from a gambling loan shark.
Second, in the other case, another Bilibid inmate claimed that the drug money was sourced from Tony Co. Tony Co was the only victim who died from the stabbings in the Bilibid riot that was staged to force Jaybee Sebastian, Peter Co, Tony Co, and Vicente Sy to testify against me. Of course, Tony Co can no longer rise from the grave to belie any hearsay testimony to the effect that the money he supposedly delivered actually came from drugs.
Third, the prosecution has also turned to asking government lawyers to stand as proxy witnesses for dead Bilibid inmates. This is what they want to do with the dead Jaybee Sebastian, who supposedly and conveniently executed a new affidavit six days before he allegedly died of COVID-19. They want the government lawyer who supposedly witnessed Sebastian execute the affidavit to testify in Sebastian’s place. This is not allowed under the rules proscribing hearsay testimony. But, of course, Mr. Duterte’s DOJ does not care about the Rules of Evidence, much less about the Bill of Rights.
In the last two minutes of my trial, Mr. Duterte’s DOJ is still fishing for evidence, when all that they needed to supposedly convict me should have been already in their hands the moment they decided to file the Information against me. This is a case of an “ouido” prosecution, where the DOJ scrapes the bottom of the evidence barrel in their attempt to pin me down for a nonexistent crime.
This utter failure of the government to prove any of the allegations in the Information is also the basis of my Motions for Bail. By now, it is fairly evident that the government simply has nothing to show in the criminal cases they filed against me. My cases, People v. De Lima, have ridiculously become trials against Peter Co, as the government tirelessly tries to prove that he is a drug lord, in a case where he is not even the accused. Against all known rules, the prosecution is trying to impeach its own witness!
Because of the abject failure of the government’s fishing expedition, I expect to be allowed to post bail in the two cases before the end of the year. The third drug case has been much delayed due to repeated changing of handling judges. My lawyers will also file a Motion for Bail in said case in due time.
There is simply no sense in letting these cases drag on. It is time for the government’s lawyers to stop being farmers and fishermen who plant and fish for evidence. They should remember their attorney’s oath and start being lawyers again. They should desist from being a party to this grave travesty of justice.
SEN. LEILA M. DE LIMA
PNP Custodial Center