Sen Leila de Lima on SC Ruling on Gloria Arroyo Case, “Why Wait for Change of Administration?”

Senator Leila de Lima expressed her disappointment over the decision of the Supreme Court this Tuesday, July 19 to dismiss the plunder case against former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In an ambush interview, Sen. de Lima asks why did the decision had to be done during the Duterte administration.

“Ang top of mind reaction ko lang is: ‘What’s happening?’ These are trying times and first, why did they have to wait for the change in administration to issue that ruling?” Sen. de Lima told reporters at the Senate, shortly after the SC ruling on Gloria Arroyo came out. She was the Justice secretary when Arroyo was charged with plunder in October 2012.

“And it also crossed my mind actually noon.Remember when the Supreme Court also granted bail to former senator Enrile? So it crossed my mind. Sabi ko, baka ang isunod nila the case of the former president because we are seeing here situations when the Supreme Court seems to assume the role now of trier of facts.” The neophyte senator added.

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Sen. De Lima noted that the Sandiganbayan has rejected Gloria Arroyo’s plea to bail several times and demurrer to evidence. The former CHR (Commission on Human Rights) during the Arroyo administration also noted that as part of the PNoy administration which she said is tough on fighting graft and corruption, she is disappointed with the SC ruling.

In November 2011, then-Justice Secretary Leila de Lima stopped Gloria Arroyo from leaving the Philippines despite an existing TRO allowing the former president to seek medication abroad. That time, Arroyo was already at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), but was instructed to go back to St. Luke’s Medical Center where she is under hospital arrest.

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Meanwhile, Sen. De Lima issued a separate statement on the issue. According to her, she does not have yet a copy of SC’s ruling to free Gloria Arroyo, and at the same acquitting her from the plunder case. Nevertheless, the former Justice secretary said that the dismissal of the case is unfortunate, especially when corruption in the Philippines is rampant.

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“While we have yet to ascertain and assess the full effect of this decision, I am one hundred percent sure that this is demoralizing or disheartening to most of us, to say the least, as it delivers a huge blow to all our initiatives. I am confident that the Ombudsman will study closely this decision, with the end in view of seeking a reconsideration.” She said.