DoJ clarifies: De Lima bribery case separate

The former lawmaker is currently detained at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, Quezon City due to drug charges filed by the DoJ.

August 15, 2022

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has clarified that the recent dismissed bribery charges against former Senator Leila de Lima have nothing to do with her illegal drugs charges currently pending before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court.

According to DoJ incoming spokesperson Atty. Mico Clavano, the elements of a bribery case and drug trade is different.

“The evidence is very different to prove bribery and drug trade. We have already presented out evidence, and the ball is now with the courts,” Clavano said in a message.

Clavano’s comment was sought after snowballing calls to free the former legislator following a resolution from the Office of the Ombudsman junking the bribery charges against her — and her former driver Ronnie Dayan — for lack of probable cause.

“Basically, we are saying that the resolution of the Ombudsman was expected. We do not think, however, that it will have any bearing on the drug trading charges in court,” Clavano in an earlier statement said.

The DoJ, meantime, pointed out that the 22 July 2022 Ombudsman resolution was consistent with its 14 February 2017 resolution rejecting self-confessed Kerwin Espinosa’s claims that he gave De Lima a total of P8 million in exchange for his unhampered illegal drugs business while behind bars.

“Therefore, it was clear to the DoJ Panel of Prosecutors that Espinosa’s confession on the allegation of payment for protection was not convincing,” said the DoJ.

“The Department would like to reiterate and point out that we are consistent with the recent resolution of the Ombudsman. In fact, our resolution in 2017 comes way ahead,” it added.

The former lawmaker is currently detained at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, Quezon City due to drug charges filed by the DoJ.

She is facing conspiracy to commit illegal drugs trade before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court. Around 40 prosecution witnesses have testified against her, including former Bureau of Corrections chief Rafael Ragos.


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