Palace: CA not a venue for personal attacks on De Lima
MANILA, Philippines – Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Saturday, June 7, the Commission on Appointments (CA) should not be a venue for personal attacks.
She was referring to threats that videos of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s alleged “illicit affairs” will be made public once she is confirmed.
Valte also said jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam’s attack on De Lima is below the belt given that the CA examines an appointee’s capacity to serve in government and not her personal affairs.
“It’s prudent not to respond to threats like this since we’re talking about Secretary de Lima’s capacity as secretary of justice,” Valte said.
Cam, who is the head of the Whistleblower’s Association of the Philippines, is one of those opposing De Lima's appointment. She has been criticizing De Lima on the pork barrel scam investigation and claims that the secretary aided the escape of Palawan ex-governor Joel Reyes and his brother Coron ex-mayor Mario Reyes, both linked to the murder of a journalist in 2011.
On Wednesday, June 4, De Lima addressed the issues that Cam and Senator Jinggoy Estrada raised against her during the CA justice committee hearing.
Valte reminded those opposing De Lima that the CA hearing set on June 11 is not the proper venue to hurl personal accusations. “If we do not get the results we want, let’s not use the Commission on Appointments," Valte said.
Earlier, President Benigno Aquino III told reporters on the sidelines of the Asia Europe Meeting on disaster risk reduction and management, "I think the objections are personal as opposed to professional."
Pork barrel scam arrests
Valte said the government is ready to face any backlash resulting from the arrest of the 3 senators involved in the pork barrel scam – Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Ramon Revilla Jr.
“We are ready in case the court orders the arrest of the suspects. It’s the court that decides. The executive will only carry out the order,” Valte added.
On Friday, June 6, the 3 senators were charged with plunder, a non-bailable offense, before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly pocketing kickbacks through an elaborate scheme to divert public funds to fake government projects.
“If, in any case, the high profile case involves the arrest of high profile personalities, the government will follow the court’s decision and do what’s right,” Valte said.
Estrada on Saturday, June 7, said he expected for the Ombudsman to deny their motion for reconsideration. But he is concerned that events are moving too quickly.
“Maybe they want us jailed before President Aquino's SONA? Of couse he (Aquino) will highlight the 3 of us: 'We put in prison one president and 3 senators' in their anti-corruption drive.’ As for me, my conscience is clear,” Estrada said in a DZMM radio interview.
Valte slammed Estrada’s accusations that the arrests are being fast-tracked in time for the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“I think the Ombudsman has given enough time to review and to consider all the pieces of evidence that were submitted by the DOJ regarding this case. It took the Ombudsman months before a resolution was finalized," she said.
Valte added that the Office of the Ombudsman is an independent constitutional commission “not controlled by the executive department.”
She said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is getting ready to file another batch of cases against government officials involved in the pork barrel scam.
“They’re not yet done with their investigation so we can’t name any more suspects. It’s Secretary De Lima who knows who else are being investigated,” Valte said. – Rappler.com