MANILA –Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II admitted that they are taking time to come up with a tight case in relation to the drug trafficking complaints filed against Senator Leila De Lima in connection to her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
”Talagang mahirap ‘yung kaso because there are so many witnesses, maraming accusations , maraming sections na violated , kaya talagang hinihimay nila,” Aguirre told reporters in a press conference on Friday.
“I think tama naman yung ginawa nila na talagang pagbutihin nila… Sapagkat di tulad ng accusations sa akin na binibilisan ko raw , sa kabagalan nga e galit na ang tao sa akin,” he added.
The panel of prosecutors headed by Senior Asst. State Prosecutor Peter Ong has already submitted the case for resolution without the answer from De Lima, who was repeatedly summoned to attend the hearing and submit her counter-affidavit.
The consolidated complaints against De Lima were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), crime watchdog group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala and high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian in connection to her alleged involvement in illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison when she was still Justice Secretary.
The complaints filed against her include indirect bribery, violation of the Anti-Graft Law and violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Aguirre said the resolution on the complaints against the senator would be come in a matter of days or this coming week.
”In a matter of days. Baka hindi na lumampas sa next week,” Aguirre said on Friday.
Asked for a comment on De Lima’s petition before the Court of Appeals to stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from acting on the drug trafficking complaints filed against her, Aguirre said that there is no need for temporary restraining order (TRO) because during her stint as DoJ Secretary she ordered to file cases against public officials.
”Talagang hindi naman dapat lagyan ng TRO kasi alam naman natin during her time yun ang ginagawa nya. Di ba ang dami nyang finilan na mga public officials, sina abalos na nasa RTC , hindi sa Ombudsman kaya ngayon lang nya sinsilip yung dating ginagawa niya,” he explained.
De Lima sought relief from the CA after the DOJ rejected her plea for inhibition of the department from the cases and to forward the complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman, which she said has exclusive jurisdiction of graft charges against elected officials.
She questioned the impartiality and objectivity of the DOJ in resolving the charges and branded the DOJ PI as mere “charade” aimed at persecuting her for being vocal against the government’s war on illegal drugs.
She said the Office of the Ombudsman has the sole jurisdiction to conduct an investigation on offenses cognizable by the Sandiganbayan.
De Lima said even if she has been accused of violating the Anti-Drugs Law, it has to be determined still if the alleged offenses was committed in relation to her former position as DOJ secretary.