Press Release
April 12, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 504:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Justice Sec. Guevarra's remark that the US Senators were "misinformed" in their call to drop the politically-motivated charges against the Senator and Maria Ressa

Much has been said by the Palace and my own colleagues in the Senate about the filing of a resolution by US Senators calling on the Duterte Administration to stop the legal persecution of dissenters, including myself and Maria Ressa. But none of these is more absurd than Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra's statement that the US Senators were misinformed and that Maria Ressa and I were properly treated and legally charged by the DOJ for alleged criminal wrongdoings.

Sec. Guevarra might have been hiding under a rock for a good part in the early months of this administration to be unaware of the daily character assassination, slut-shaming, and trial by publicity that Duterte and his officials subjected me to, but definitely the US Senators were not.

These Senators know, while Guevarra apparently did not, that the whole government machinery, first and foremost the House of Representatives and the DOJ, was mobilized by his boss to malign my reputation and fabricate criminal charges against me on the basis of the statements of convicted criminals and other perjured witnesses.

I am sure that the US Senators are better informed than him about my cases, if he has at all even bothered to familiarize himself with the cases his department has filed against me. As DOJ Secretary, he has continued the legal persecution started by his infamous predecessor by maintaining the criminal convicts as state witnesses against me, even if they are disqualified by law.

No self-respecting DOJ Secretary would allow criminal convicts to be under the DOJ's Witness Protection Program as state witnesses. The fact that Guevarra did means that he either has not familiarized himself with my cases, or that he himself has chosen to take part in my persecution by continuing the trial of my cases despite the clear violation of the WPP Law on the use of disqualified criminal convicts as state witnesses.

That the DOJ has railroaded the cases against me from day one of the preliminary investigation up to the trial with the utilization of disqualified criminal convicts as state witnesses, instead of filing cases against them as the admitted drug lords in the Bilibid drug trade, and the filing of a patently defective Information (both the original and the amended), are palpable proofs of the targeted legal persecution of dissenters under the Duterte Administration. These are the facts that the US Senators are aware of, and thus prompted them to file the US Senate Resolution, facts that Guevarra refuses to acknowledge.

To say that these US lawmakers were "fed with wrong information" is an insult to them who, like many other foreign dignitaries and international organizations and institutions who similarly called out the Philippine government for its human rights abuses and its political persecution against me, have certainly the wherewithal and the network to be able to verify any information that come their way. They are neither pushovers nor lacking in intelligence or discernment. Quite the contrary.

It is high time Guevarra comes out of the rock he is hiding under, lest he becomes just another one of the maggots of a rotting administration, a legacy he certainly would not wish upon himself.

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