Press Release
January 18, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 704:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Response to Jude Sabio's Statement that She Was Behind Matobato's Ombudsman and ICC Cases Against Duterte


Jude Sabio says I was behind the case filed by Edgar Matobato with the Ombudsman against Duterte. "Behind" is such a loaded term. It implies that the charges filed were fabricated.

No, Mr. Sabio. I was not "behind" the filing of the Ombudsman charges. I encouraged and helped Matobato file the charges because he is the person who witnessed the murders he and others with him committed on Duterte's orders.

Alangan namang tulungan ko yun walang kaalam-alam sa mga krimeng ginawa ni Duterte.

It was only proper then that somebody started filing charges against Duterte in light of Matobato's and Lascañas's revelations, after more than 20 years of carrying out Duterte's orders to kill mere suspected criminals, charges that seem to be gathering dust at the Office of the Ombudsman.

I don't know what Jude Sabio hopes to achieve with his supposed "revelation", but everybody already knows I was the one who presented Matobato to testify before the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee. And only rightly so, for Matobato showed the whole world the kind of demon our country is dealing with. Filing murder charges against that devil is only the logical consequence of his Senate testimony.

I am asking Sabio pointblank, does your "revelation" mean that Matobato is not telling the truth? Or that your appreciation of the truth is dependent on your personal issues or circumstances, such as dire financial need?

Alam mo naman na kahit pagbabaligtarin pa ang testimonya ni Matobato, pinaninindigan nya na ang kanyang mga sinabi ay pawang katotohanan lamang. Ikaw lang naman ang may problema sa paninindigan, hindi si Matobato, hindi ako. Matobato has already made his peace with God a long time ago. He will never go back again to the hell that the devil Duterte made for him.

There is nothing illegal or wrong with me helping Matobato file the charges. But I anticipate that my oppressors will again file charges against me, on top of the 14 cases (11 pending, 3 dismissed) they already orchestrated to be filed against me. What is one more harassment case, when they have thrown everything at me including the kitchen sink.

As to Sabio's Communication to the ICC, I was not "behind" that, but I was aware of it. While substantially correct, I felt it needed enhancement. That is why I submitted my own Communication to the ICC in October 2017 - four months before ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the start of a preliminary examination on the Philippine situation - to complement Sabio's, former Senator Trillanes's, and former Congressman Alejano's Communications. All of these Communications were considered by Prosecutor Bensouda when she announced the start of the preliminary examination on the Philippine situation on February 2018. That is why the withdrawal of one, or even of all these communications, will not stop the ICC process as there are several other communications filed by other individuals and groups, and information gathered by the ICC, that were considered as basis for the preliminary examination.

Resort to available global mechanisms of justice and accountability like the ICC, UNHRC and other UN bodies, and the Global Magnitsky Act in the US, is the right thing to do, particularly when local institutions have been rendered inutile.

Sabio's turn-around will hardly have any effect on any of these efforts. It is not only because of him that the world took notice of the crimes against humanity taking place under Duterte. Sabio gives himself too much credit, more than he rightly deserves.

Sa huli, ang mahalagang sagutin ay, hanggang kailan ang kawalang hustisya sa mga biktima ng mga summary killings, noon at ngayon, na utos mismo ni Duterte?

Hangga't hindi napapanagot ang dyablong ito, hindi rin ako hihinto sa paghikayat ng mga karampatang hakbang at tulong sa mundo.

*Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 704 here:

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