Press Release
March 16, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 264
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on the filing of inciting to sedition charges against Sen. Sonny Trillanes


It looks like everybody in the National Prosecution Service of the DOJ is now gunning for promotion and rewards.

First it was Aristotle Reyes, the prosecutor who absolved Customs officials and other individuals in the 6.4 B shabu smuggling case, as well as Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, and Peter Co in their own cases for illegal drug trading. Reyes was appointed RTC Judge by Duterte and took his oath of office last February 2, 2018, after dismissing the cases against the drug lords.

This time, it is Pasay City Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Joahna Gabatino-Lim's turn to gun for her own promotion and to collect her reward. Yesterday, Lim charged Sen. Sonny Trillanes with the crime of inciting to sedition for allegedly inquiring into the bank accounts and hidden wealth of President Duterte and his family. In her resolution, Lim said that Trillanes's inquiry into Duterte's hidden wealth is not in aid of legislation, and thereby purely imputes graft and corruption on the person and family of the President. Acccording to Lim, this constitutes the crime of inciting to sedition.

In their bid for promotions, and in light of the obvious breakdown of the system of meritocracy in government service today, public prosecutors seem to be in a race of who can first file, or dismiss, as the case may be, the case that pleases Malacañang the most.

Apparently, one of them is more enthusiastic than the others and has just made the act of criticizing and holding public officials accountable a crime of inciting to sedition. For her outlandish finding that criticizing public officials now constitutes the crime of inciting to sedition, Lim's upcoming promotion obviously will be based on things other than her mastery of the law.

Prosecutor Lim's findings are of course ludicrous. She has made petition signing for accountability a crime. Though admittedly the crime of sedition is an archaic colonial law used against Filipino patriots during the American period, Lim's action is the most absurd attempt to stretch its coverage in the post-EDSA era, as to encompass even the basic exercise of the freedom of expression.

Of course, VACC's and the Aguirre DOJ's action is another attempt to silence administration critics. And in a regime where meritocracy and competence has no more value, they are only too eagerly assisted by many public servants who are only too willing to get ahead the easy way, that is, by accomplishing what is most endearing to Malacañang, no matter how outrageously unjust.

This is no longer being done by said civil servants for purposes of basic professional survival under a malevolent regime. This has now become a race among sycophants and the mediocre performers in government -- those who cannot get ahead based solely on merit and competence -- as it is now their chance to thrive in a kakistocracy of the worst and the most incompetent, where the only requirement for promotion is kissing the posterior of Malacañang officials.

I cringe at the thought of what our civil service will look like at the end of Duterte's term -- the DOJ and the National Prosecution Service in particular.

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