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MANILA, Philippines – Following the acquittal of former senator Leila de Lima in one of her drug cases, Executive Secretary Secretary Lucas Bersamin claimed the justice system in the country is working.
“‘Yong pag-aaqcuit ng isang judge, respetuhin natin dahil ang judge lang ang nakakaalam sa ebidensiya. Kung in-acquit niya, ipinaliwanag naman siguro niya ‘yan sa kanyang decision,” Bersamin said on the sidelines of a Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission meeting in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
(The judge’s acquittal of De Lima, we have to respect that because only the judge knows the evidence. If he ruled acquittal, he probably explained that in his decision.)
The former chief justice-turned-Cabinet official added: “Wala akong masasabi kundi purihin natin ang judge. At si senator De Lima, that’s another victory. That’s all. Ayoko naman mag-congratulate. That’s the justice system working.”
(I cannot say anything aside from let’s praise the judge. And for senator De Lima, that’s another victory. That’s all. I don’t want to congratulate. That’s the justice system working.)
In a separate occasion, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla reacted to De Lima’s acquittal and said it proved that “things are working” in the Philippines.
“The rule of law has prevailed and it just points out to us that the independence of the judiciary is a basic foundation of our democratic system. So it’s good, it’s good for us. It just proves that things are working in our country,” Remulla said.
On Friday, Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 204 acquitted De Lima in one of her remaining drug cases. Presiding Judge Abraham Joseph Alcantara said in his ruling that the retraction of former acting Bureau of Corrections chief Rafael Ragos created “reasonable doubt” about the accusations against the former lawmaker with the opposition.
De Lima has been detained for over six years due to cases filed against her during former president Rodrigo Duterte’s term. In total, she was slapped with three cases – two of which have already been junked by the courts, as of May 2023.
Days before Branch 204 handed down its verdict, prosecutors under the DOJ filed on April 17 an urgent omnibus motion for reconsideration and sought to reopen the trial – which the De Lima camp immediately opposed. This means the prosecutors wanted to continue to provide more evidence despite the already set date of promulgation.
The promulgation pushed through as originally scheduled on Friday, May 12.
Meanwhile, in De Lima’s only remaining case, Remulla himself warned that the DOJ would oppose De Lima’s petition for bail if her camp continues to push for her temporary release based on the merits of the case. – Rappler.com