Press Release
August 31, 2017

Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on Duterte's latest tirade against OMB Morales and CJ Sereno
Dispatch from Crame No. 144

As the poor and the defenseless are dying in the streets, while the rich, powerful and influential are shielded from the shoot-from-the-hip brand of "justice" that has taken the life of thousands of victims, including minors like Kian Loyd Delos Santos, there is great and morbid irony in hearing the President complain about "selective justice" in his tirades against OMB Morales and CJ Sereno.

He complains, for instance, that two Senators - who have been duly charged with involvement in the PDAF Scam, who have had the best legal representations and given all the opportunity to refute charges against them in various stages of the investigation and are, even now, defending themselves in the ongoing trials before the Sandiganbayan - are the victims of selective justice by OMB Morales. Only in the President's skewed definition of "justice" are these rich, influential and powerful men the poster boys for injustice.

Clearly, Duterte would prefer that suspects be given swift justice - but something tells me that, in the case of these two senators with whom he is obviously sympathetic, he would likely prefer that they be given their freedom despite the ongoing trial. A trial that he, as a former prosecutor, ought to know could be very complicated given the length of time the scam they allegedly participated in was ongoing, the volumes of documents and the number of witnesses (including, presumably expert witnesses) involved.

Since I would not make the mistake of underestimating the President's credentials as a lawyer, I can only surmise that he twists the facts to suit his narrative - and his narrative requires two things.

First, the eradication of the concept of "independence" in our independent institutions and offices, like the Office of the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court, which is why he wants to hasten the removal from office of two women who dare to hold on to their independence, integrity and impartiality in the face of a President who expects and demands blind loyalty and kowtowing from everyone.

Second, he needs to divert attention from the major issues that he should be addressing, such as his admission of his inability to solve the drug problem, even despite the thousands of lives that have already been sacrificed at the altar of his bloody "War on Drugs"; his admission that he cannot cull corruption from his own ranks, including within the PNP who are at the forefront of the "War on Drugs", and in key institutions like the Bureau of Customs, where the name of his son has - once again - been linked in smuggling activities; or the continuing creeping encroachment and invasion by China into disputed territories.

There is, therefore, more than irony in the President's complaint. There is an evil genius behind it. Clearly, he sees the writing on the wall: the day will come when he and his men will have to answer for their sins. When that day comes, he is making sure that the Ombudsman and the Judiciary are in his pocket. Until then, Duterte will use everything in his power to misdirect the people's attention.

But I refuse to be fooled. Mr. President, who are you to cry foul about selective justice?

News Latest News Feed