By H. Marcos C. Mordeno
MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews)—Everybody knew the three drug charges filed by the Duterte government against former senator Leila de Lima were motivated by the former president’s lust for vendetta. Nonetheless, it sounds comforting to hear it straight from Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Adviser, Salvador Panelo.
Speaking in his program on Sonshine Media Network International News on November 14, Panelo said De Lima’s incarceration for almost seven years was “karma” or punishment for destroying Duterte.
Panelo’s exact words: “Yung almost seven years na detention niya sa nagawa niyang kasalanan, number 1, yung paninira niya kay President Duterte” (Her nearly seven years of detention for her sins, number one, her destroying President Duterte).
De Lima’s “sin” was her courageous act as Commission on Human Rights chair of investigating the extrajudicial killings in Davao City during Duterte’s time as mayor. She pursued the probe at the Senate after her election in 2016, the same year Duterte became president.
In effect, Panelo was saying the charges against De Lima were never about drugs. His words were an admission that his master merely wanted to extract revenge by weaponizing the bloody “war on drugs” and using false witnesses with false testimonies to pin her down.
The eventual recantations made by key witnesses against De Lima proved that everything was plain persecution.
Now that she’s out of jail, and will likely be acquitted with the withdrawal of key witnesses, it would be interesting to see De Lima play a role in the probe into the Philippine “drug war” by the International Criminal Court.
Maybe that would enlighten Panelo on what real karma looks like.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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