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De Lima, In a Dilemma?

Leila Norma Eulalia Josefa Magistrado de Lima, a Senator, Human Rights activist and Lawyer by profession. The Hon. Sen. De Lima is on her initial year as a Philippine Senator, assumed office starting June 30, 2016 under the Duterte Administration. Her current oath in office was preceded by an impressive array of distinguished positions held under several previous presidential administrations. 

She became Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Aquino Administration from June 2010 to October 2015. Prior to that, Sen. De Lima became the Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) from May 2008 to June 2010 as appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The highlights of her career in the legal world stemmed from being a Legal Staff of Associate Justice Isagani Cruz at the Supreme Court of the Philippines, serving as a Junior Associate in a private law office, being a Clerk and Secretary at the House of Representatives’ Electoral Tribunal, before returning to private practice and setting up her own law firm in 1998.

But her storied political career currently turned out a rough one. Such was the case when elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte himself, without initially naming anyone, gave some eye-popping revelations of a woman politician who allegedly got involved with her driver-bodyguard whose been collecting money to jumpstart her political campaign, to the point of “funding” a house for a lover. This was further heightened by a probe done by the House of Representatives, on then Justice Secretary De Lima, linking her to alleged drug trades happening inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

All of these were blatantly denied by the strong-willed Senator, stating that such accusations were “foul” and a “clear form of character assassination”. Of course all of these, at its present state, are just matters of opinion, until such time that a case is actually filed and proven under the proper court. Netizens on social media may continue to bash and express their somewhat “radical, reckless and rather over-the-top” remarks about the “what if’s” of the on-going controversies. But here’s the bottomline; under the Court of Law, unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, a person will remain innocent.

There are lots of twists and turns in this roller coaster ride. The latest of Senate and Congressional hearings has filled the air with character and drama that will be the talk of the town in the weeks (or months) to come. 

The alleged “drug lord” of the Visayas, Kerwin Espinosa, testified under oath of giving (through her driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan) some PhP 8 Million (roughly USD $159,000) in aid of the Senator’s candidacy during the last National and Senatorial Elections in exchange for protection and security. Espinosa further confessed of several other government officials that were “paid handsomely” or better put in his own words received SOP (money from selling illegal drugs) for their assurance of protection. 

Quite recently, New Bilibid Prison (NBP) convict Jaybee Sebastian, through his wife Roxanne, filed cases of Anti-Torture, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices, raising funds and receiving drug money to fund Senator De Lima’s Senatorial bid. September 23, 2016, De Lima announced Sebastian as a government asset inside the state penitentiary, enraging inmates which later escalated to his purported assassination last September 28 allegedly to stop Sebastian from further testifying. 

The latest of such tirades is a closure of a Congressional hearing involving the driver-bodyguard turned lover of Sen. De Lima, Ronnie Dayan. Dayan failed to attend summons to the House after allegedly accepting drug money payoffs to help bolster the Senator’s bid for office. Dayan went into hiding and was recently apprehended by authorities in the Province of La Union. He was brought to Congress to answer allegations of being De Lima’s “bagman”, getting money raised through drug trafficking by the VIP Bilibid inmates, as well as from suspected Visayan drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. Ronnie Dayan also disclosed that he indeed became involved with Senator De Lima for 7 years, a matter that the Senator also confessed true and deemed “frailties of a woman” in an one-on-one interview with known TV personality Winnie Monsod. 

With such personalities such as Kerwin Espinosa, Ronnie Dayan and Jaybee Sebastian jumping into the fray and giving their testimonies against Senator De Lima and other government officials, the heat will surely turn up a notch or two. Be sure to tune in and keep yourselves abreast with the latest news and current events. 

So what’s your take into this? Don’t be left behind!

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