Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has deplored the recent move by the Duterte administration in deploying what she called an “army of special prosecutors” to indict her from the trumped-up illegal drug charges filed against her.
De Lima made the statement after the Department of Justice (DOJ) designated 18 personnel as part of the Prosecution Panel and placed them under the supervision of National Prosecution Service (NPS) chief Prosecutor General (PG) Benedicto Malcontento.
“I detest in the utmost sense the latest move of DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra to deploy an army of special prosecutors led by no less than the Prosecutor General himself, PG Malcontento, for the sole purpose of prosecuting the farcical criminal cases filed against me,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 622.
“That the PG himself is so named in no uncertain terms only raises fears of malcontent,” added De Lima, who is considered as the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte administration.
Last Oct. 4, Secretary Guevarra designated 11 trial prosecutors and seven DOJ administrative support and paralegals under the supervision of the prosecutor general to handle De Lima’s drug cases before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC).
Despite the overemployment of government resources and the suspicious involvement of Malcontento in handling De Lima’s drug cases, he claimed it was “purely administrative matter” in reinforcing more government prosecutors to convict her. The lady Senator from Bicol, however, maintained that the DOJ obviously acted on Duterte’s order to keep her in illegal and unjust detention and ensure her conviction at all costs.
“Wala na bang aatupagin ang DOJ sa ilalim ni Duterte kung hindi siguraduhing manatili akong nakakulong hanggat mahatulan ng habambuhay na pagkabilanggo? Bakit hindi pa ikaw Sec. Guevarra ang mismong maging punong taga-usig doon sa korte sa Muntinlupa? Bakit mo pa ipinasa kay Malcontento?” she asked.
“Hindi personal na law office ni Duterte ang DOJ at ang gobyerno na gagawin lamang mga utusan sa pang-aapi at pang-aalipusta ang mga public prosecutors,” she added.
The former justice secretary reminded the DOJ personnel that they have a mandate not only to go after guilty offenders with the firmest resolve but also to ensure with equal resoluteness that no injustice is done to innocent ones like her.
“What do they gain if they have the whole world by satisfying their master’s whims, but lose their soul? I will, in due time, hold these prosecutors to account for prosecutorial misconduct or abuse. They are forewarned,” she said.
De Lima, who has been constantly subjected to unsubstantiated accusations levelled against her by Mr. Duterte, is facing three counts of politically-motivated trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the vindictive Duterte government. (senate.gov.ph)