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Face the music, Leila

Certain questions deserve straight answers, now that she is no longer Justice chief and no longer under the protection of her yellow patron, as well as the once dominant yellow Senate.

Ninez Cacho-Olivares

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Detained Sen. Leila de Lima appears to get more and more nervous as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee headed by Sen. Richard Gordon invites more and more resource persons and witnesses to appear before the hearings on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) controversy.

Virtually from the day the GCTA hearings started, De Lima had been bitching endlessly about the continuing panel hearings, and desperately trying to make it appear as if the Senate panel is “maliciously” targeting and demonizing her by summoning several prisoners and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chiefs to testify. She slammed Gordon and his hearings on the GCTA as being done in “bad faith.”

The latest resource person to be invited to the hearing is former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong who is expected to share what he knows about the illegal activities at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). Also invited to attend the hearings is the former Justice chief Vitaliano Aguirre who handled the drug case against his predecessor.

So why does Leila oppose such hearings to get a better picture of the anomalies and infractions committed under the GCTA Law that she and then Interior Secretary Mar Roxas crafted the implementing rules and regulations, as well as the corruption that has always marked the drug trade, since she became the Justice chief?

Leila should be glad that all these corrupt activities in the NBP as well as in the BuCor are being investigated and heard openly, since she claims total innocence, and therefore, she shouldn’t be scared of these witnesses and resource persons testifying on the matter. If she says she is innocent, she shouldn’t be scared, yet she continues to claim she is being demonized by these malicious hearings that are being done in bad faith.

The problem with De Lima is that she conveniently forgets the fact that during her days as Justice chief, she, along with the yellow Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and their coached witnesses, maliciously and in bad faith accused the political foes of their yellow President, had them arrested, charged and detained on plunder. And she tries to make herself look like a saint who has been martyred?

Leila may be able to fool her human rights groups of Western and Asian allies, but she can hardly convince too many Filipinos of her innocence, especially when she has been trying too hard to block witnesses from testifying against her, whether in court, or in the Senate.

Certain questions deserve straight answers, now that she is no longer Justice chief and no longer under the protection of her yellow patron, as well as the once dominant yellow Senate.

It will be recalled that Magalong, as a resource person can speak on the issue and even present the special operations intelligence plan containing the malpractices in the NBP in 2014.

It was puzzling even then why Magalong and his team were excluded from the special operations raid on the illegal drug trade in the NBP, especially since Magalong came up with a special operations intelligence plan that he had presented to De Lima, then the Justice chief.

Magalong stressed that he had coordinated his operation with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in preparing the special operations intelligence plan at NBP.

As Magalong explained: “We prepared a special operations intelligence plan that we presented to then secretary De Lima. I told her all in spite of the fact that some high-profile Chinese drug personalities continue to control and manage the illegal drug trade in the country.”

Yet the CIDG and PDEA were excluded in the raid at the NBP, with Magalong learning about the raid later from the then police deputy chief of operations, Marcelo Garbo.

That exclusion of the very agencies that even prepared the intelligence operation for the raid, and clearly, with Leila knowingly excluding them from the raid, is much too suspicious. After all, why exclude the CIDG and the PDEA from the NBP raid, if she were that innocent as she claims she is, especially since, as Magalong put it, standard law enforcement practice, the teams behind the intelligence gathering operation, should be included in the raiding team.

But probably the reason for Magalong, PDEA and their teams’ exclusions by De Lima is that the special operations intelligence plan contained information about the involvement of some BuCor officials.

Magalong also said that had the CIDG been included in the raid, his team could have gotten more information to support the corruption case against BuCor and NBP officials.

It only becomes all too clear that the CIDG and the PDEA teams were excluded perhaps to hide De Lima and her BuCor officials’ involvement in the NPB drug trade. It is also possible, if not probable, that the De Lima raid was staged to make her appear as though she was against the illegal drug trade at the NBP, which is contrary to the testimonies of the prisoners and even her own appointed BuCor chief, who all pointed to her involvement in the illegal drug trade.

Those human rights groups should start doing their research, instead of proclaiming De Lima as a politically persecuted victim — which she is definitely not, since she was the persecutor of the political foes of her yellow patron!

Leila should stop wailing. Few, if any, believe her claims anyway.

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