WAG KASI BASTOS! DOJ Sec. Guevarra, may mensahe kay U.S. Senator Leahy.

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Guevarra: US Sen. Leahy’s staff should come to PHL to see evidence presented vs. De Lima

December 29, 2019

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Sunday said that a US senator who has called for the release of Senator Leila De Lima should send his legal staff to the Philippines and see the evidence presented against her in court.

“I invite his legal staff to come over and pore over the evidence so far presented in court, instead of relying on so-called ‘reports’ which are at best second-hand evidence, and at worst multiple hearsay,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters. 

“We will allow the legal staff of these senators to come and authorize them to go over the records and transcripts of the cases and observe the hearings, subject to reasonable regulations, so that they may enlighten their bosses,” he added.

Leahy introduced a provision in the US’ 2020 fiscal federal budget bill with fellow Democratic Senator Richard Durbin stating that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shall apply subsection (prohibition on entry) to foreign government officials about whom he “has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment” of De Lima.

US President Donald Trump approved the budget earlier this month. 

In retaliation, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered that Leahy and Durbin be banned from entering the Philippines, to which Leahy said that the Duterte administration “should either release Senator De Lima immediately or provide her the fair, public trial she is entitled to.”

In response to this, Guevarra said that “much of [the Philippines’] constitutional law and rules on criminal procedure had their origin in US law.”

Guevarra also said that De Lima’s trial was proceeding “at a normal pace, given all the circumstances obtaining,” and that her indictment “was upheld by the Philippine Supreme Court and that she has been freely exercising all the rights of an accused in a fair and public trial.”

“They also ought to know that Senator De Lima can only be released upon an acquittal, and not at anytime upon pressure exerted by foreign politicians who do not represent the people of the Philippines,” he added.

De Lima, one of the most vocal of President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics, has been in detention since February 2017 over allegations of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading. She has denied the allegations, and local and international human rights groups have called for her release. — BM, GMA News

Guevarra: US Sen. Leahy’s staff should come to PHL to see evidence presented vs. De Lima