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De Lima blasts drug campaign ‘a big joke’


By Hannah Torregoza

Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday said the dismissal of the illegal drug charges against Kerwin Espinosa only proves she is innocent of the criminal cases filed against her by the Duterte government.

FACING ARREST – Senator Leila de Lima is in fighting form in this photo taken at a press conference in the Senate last Tuesday. A regional trial court on Thursday ordered her arrest. (Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin)

Senator Leila de Lima (Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin)

De Lima made the statement after the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) prosecution panel dismissed the complaint against Espinosa, Peter Lim and several other high-profile drug personalities.

“Ngayon nga pong inabswelto ng DOJ sina Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Co at iba pang sangkot sa ilegal na droga, lalong napapagtibay ang aking pagiging inosente, at ang aking paniniwala sa simula’t sapul na peke at palpak ang War on Drugs ni Duterte (Now that the DOJ has dismissed the cases against Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Co and the others involved in illegal drugs, it bolstered my case that I am innocent of the charges and my belief that from the very start Duterte’s war on drugs is fake and sloppy),” de Lima said in her latest handwritten dispatch from the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center.

The senator has been accused of accepting drug money from Espinosa to finance her senatorial campaign in the last May 2016 elections. De Lima has vehemently denied the allegations.

“It should be clear by now that Duterte’s drug war is a big joke, except that the thousands killed in its name are not laughing. Because they are all dead,” she said.

“It is only the real drug lords like Lim, Espinosa, Co and the other Bilibid drug inmates who are laughing—laughing all the way to the bank,” she added.

But the “biggest joke of all” she said is the Duterte government’s attempt to hide the dismissal of the cases from the public since December of last year.

“And now Duterte is pretending to huff and puff at this dismissal,” she pointed out.

“It’s either they were hiding it because they were complicit in the deal with the drug lords (including the deal for the perpetuation of their lies against me), or they are so incompetent as to be completely ignorant of the dismissal a full three months after the fact. The corruption, or the incompetence—pick your choice—is incredible,” added the lawmaker.

With the release of these big-time drug dealers, de Lima “is just another instance of the fake drug war,” after the government failed to resolve and find the culprits behind the smuggling of P6.4-billion worth of shabu that passed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) scrutiny.

“The travesty of the fake war on drugs is that it has never eliminated drug lords or the sources of drugs. It has always targeted those at the lowest level of the drug chain, dealing on them the capital penalty of death without trial and on mere suspicion,” de Lima said.

“In the meantime, big-time dealers like Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Co are given a free pass for supposed lack of evidence, even if two of them admitted to being drug lords under oath,” she said.

As far as she is concerned, de Lima said there is no excuse to both the PNP and the DOJ’s failure to bring the real drug lords to court and before the bars of justice.

“They seem to have no problem filing fake drug cases against political opponents of the Duterte administration like me. It appears that the law enforcement and justice machinery of the government under this administration has already forgotten how to file and prosecute real drug cases,” she said.

“They have become such experts in filing fake drug charges that they have become completely incompetent in the case build-up and the filing of real ones. This makes the drug war useless, as it is fake,” she reiterated. [Hannah L. Torregoza]

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