MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Leila de Lima has continued her tirade against the Duterte administration, this time branding the Department of Justice as the “Department for the Prosecution of the Opposition,” after DOJ chief Vitaliano Aguirre announced that fresh pork scam charges would be filed by Janet Lim-Napoles against the detained lawmaker and her colleagues in the opposition.
“Expect a complaint substantiated with nothing but Napoles’s worthless words and Aguirre’s reputation for fake accusations,” De Lima said in a statement issued Tuesday, May 30.
On Monday, Aguirre said he had already talked to Napoles’ lawyer, who told him that the complaints against De Lima, and senators Antonio Trillanes and Franklin Drilon, and former Budget chief Florencio Abad were already being prepared and would be filed soon before the DOJ.
Last May 17, Aguirre said Napoles, the alleged pork scam mastermind, could be used as government witness in new cases that would be filed against individuals allegedly linked to the racket and not in cases now pending at the Sandiganbayan.
It was De Lima, when she was DOJ chief during the Aquino administration, who led the investigation into the multibillion-peso scam accusing lawmakers and Napoles of turning congressional pork barrel allocations meant to ease poverty into kickbacks through bogus projects by non-government organizations controlled by Napoles.
The investigation resulted in the September 2013 filing of plunder, malversation, bribery, graft and corrupt practices charges against Napoles, then senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla Jr., and 34 other people at the Office of the Ombudsman.
In 2014, then DOJ chief De Lima turned down Napoles’ appeal to become state witness because “she does not appear to be the least guilty” and “never admitted her participation in the crimes, a requirement to become a state witness.”
On Tuesday, De Lima said the justice that was achieved during her term at the DOJ has now become a joke under the Duterte administration.
“Justice in the Philippines now is a joke, the biggest joke since Aguirre was appointed Secretary of Justice. Unfortunately, it’s a joke that imprisons and punishes the innocent and rewards criminals.”
She said “only fools will still believe Secretary Aguirre and…Napoles,” whom De Lima said was the woman who had stolen billion of pesos from the pork scam but “is now being glorified to turn state witness against targeted opposition personalities.”
“What makes her anticipated complaint different from the lies she said in the past? A new-found morality? More like the promise of freedom from the Sandiganbayan trial where she is accused of plunder. Napoles has apparently cut a deal with the devils of this regime,” the senator said.
“Shameful to the core! Nakakasuka na sila [They are already disgusting]!,” added De Lima.