Never again an Arroyo and De Lima injustice

6. On whether Senator De Lima is just getting a taste of her own medicine, karma as some would say, I make distinctions. 

a. I have always been vocal that the Aquino administration, through then Secretary De Lima's actions, was wrong about GMA. They violated GMA's rights to due process and presumption of innocence. The election sabotage case was nonsense from the very beginning and, at some point, when the evidence could not be found proving plunder (it requires appropriation for personal use), they should have dropped the PCSO case or downgraded it to technical malversation or other similar lower crime, allowing GMA to be freed on bail. There is no justification for what the Aquino administration did to GMA. It should never happen again.

b. The Corona impeachment is a bit different. It was railroaded by the House of Representatives, with the complaint drafted over a weekend. The whole process became a fishing expedition. In that case though, Corona made admissions that led to his conviction. Still, the use of funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to obtain the votes of senators was terrible and should be condemned by everyone. It was not right for the Daang Matuwid (Straight Path) administration to do what they did. It's sad because the DAP later on would taint the record of that administration. 

c. The case against Senator Enrile seems to me to be weak as there is no documentary and testimonial evidence linking him to Napoles. It seems he was included principally for political reasons. That should not be done.

d. The cases against Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla seem to be airtight and completely above board. This is true for most accused in the PDAF cases, although I would take exception to those filed against Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and other DBM personnel.

e. For sure, De Lima's DOJ, as in all previous administrations, violated the human rights of political prisoners wantonly, filing and prosecuting common crimes when the cases should be rebellion. Such an evil and legally incorrect practice continues under the present administration. 

f. Nevertheless, as wrong as she was in some cases, a wrong never justifies a wrong. Because then we will end up with all wrongs and never with a right.

7. Going forward, I propose that the standard of probable cause should now be brought higher so that criminal prosecution cannot be made a political tool. People should not be charged for crimes where the chances of getting a guilty verdict is none to slim. The standard of prima facie evidence has been so distorted in this country and an accusation alone, plus political or other considerations, leads to prosecution. This is also the reason why so many Filipinos are detained without trial even as conviction rates are very low.

8. A reform of the justice system requires also an independent Secretary and Department of Justice, and we have not had that for a long time. In fact, I would say that Jose W. Diokno under President Diosdado Macapagal was the last such secretary. Diokno defied his President on the Stonehill case, although in that case, the former was accused of violating the rights of the American tycoon accused of corrupting government officials. Thankfully Diokno learned the right lesson from that experience and became, after he too was subject to such violation by Marcos, the greatest human rights lawyer or this country. 

To sum, this can be a good experience for De Lima, as it was for Diokno and for Ninoy Aquino. I wish she comes out of this not angry, but purified to do the right thing at all times for all people. Doing the right thing the right way, always the right way and consistent with the human rights of every individual, is the only rule that people who have power must follow. I wish the same for her supporters who are upset and even full of hate (according to one friend, more like indignation) right now. 

This sad episode can also be good for the country if we finally reform our criminal due process system. Let's all work together so that an Arroyo or De Lima injustice will never happen again. – Rappler.com