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Saturday, February 25, 2017

VACC lawyer: Robredo should be cited in contempt for questioning De Lima arrest

Published February 25, 2017 1:50pm

A lawyer of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Saturday said Vice President Leni Robredo could be cited in contempt of court for questioning the arrest order issued against Sen. Leila de Lima over drug charges.

"Palagay ko isama na natin sa contempt of Court si Vice President Robredo for undermining the fate of the people and the Judiciary," VACC lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said in a forum.

Robredo had said that De Lima's arrest “is the latest move in a persistent campaign of political harassment being waged against a duly elected member of Congress.”

The senator's arrest was ordered by Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204.

Topacio insisted that De Lima's arrest was not politically motivated and referred to it as a "momentous event."

"Walang magic dito, walang impluwensiya dito," Topacio said. "Hindi siya ikinulong dahil siya ay kritiko ni Pangulong Duterte, that is beside the point."

"Sa halip na sagutin nila 'yung mga akusasyon laban sa kanila sa tamang forum, puro technicality nila sa mga hearing, tapos sinasagot nila sa media. Hindi po iyon ang tama eh," he added.

In the same forum, Negros Occidental Rep. Jacinto "Jing" Paras said Robredo should be ashamed of making such a comment against a court's order.

"Nakakahiya sa isang Vice President, abogado pa naman siya, to call it a political harassment. A judge under the Judiciary system was the one who ordered. Eh parang kinukuwestiyon din niya, kinuwestiyon na niya ang Executive.." Paras said.

The lawmaker said that Robredo's statement against De Lima's arrest also questions the integrity of the judiciary.

"With due respect to the Vice President, mukhang nagiging ambisosya yata siya," Paras said.

Meanwhile, Paras repeated an earlier comment by Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo that De Lima's arrest was her "karma."

"'Yung karma naging totoo," the lawmaker said, also citing the arrest and eventual detention of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2010.

De Lima was the Justice secretary when Arroyo was arrested in 2010 on plunder charges.

"Ganito din ginawa niya kay GMA," Paras said, adding that with Arroyo, there was no due process.

De Lima was arrested Friday morning, a day after the court issued an arrest warrant against her on charges based on allegations that she, during her stint as justice secretary, allowed the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison.

The senator, who has denied the charges against her and has claimed to be a victim of political persecution, is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center inside Camp Crame.

She earlier criticized the VACC, one of the groups that filed a complaint against her, for turning a blind eye on extrajudicial killings allegedly related to the Duterte administration's war on drugs. —ALG, GMA News


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