Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales still sees no reason why her office should start an investigation on Senator Leila De Lima and her supposed involvement in drugs.
“It’s not going to happen.” Morales said Monday when asked by news reporters about any plans for a motu propio investigation by her office on De Lima.
Senator Leila De Lima has been investigated by Congress on her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade in the maximum security New Bilibid Prison during her term as justice secretary from 2010 to 1015.
Specifically, the senator is being accused of receiving funds from the sale of illegal drugs inside the prison during those times, some of which was said to have been used for her senatorial campaign.
So far, only witnesses’ testimonies, which are pure allegations, have been produced by the congressional probe and Ombudsman Morales thinks allegations are not enough to warrant an investigation by her office.
“Because lahat naman allegations itong mga ito. Wala pa namang lead talaga that would prompt us to initiate our investigation,” Morales explained. (Because all these [things thrown against De Lima] are mere allegations. There is no real lead yet that would prompt us to initiate our investigation).
Morales assured that the charges or complaint filed against De Lima before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas will be sent to her office after it does its own fact-finding investigation.
In addition, Morales said that since another complaint against De Lima has been lodged before the Department of Justice (DOJ), it should also have its own investigation on the matter. The DOJ should be given the chance to do its own fact-finding probe.
“If it’s necessary, and if they (DOJ) believe there is reason to conduct further investigation or for us to conduct a preliminary investigation, then the case will come to us,” Morales said.
Morales further said that “When the case comes to us—and if we believe the fact-finding investigation is exhaustive enough to merit our preliminary investigation if there is any crime committed—then we will follow through with it.”
Meanwhile, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) has filed charges against De Lima before the DOJ, this time for purportedly allowing drug syndicates to operate inside Bilibid during her term as justice secretary. Allegedly, this was in exchange for money that was used for her senatorial campaign.
In addition, Albuera police chief Inspector Jove Espenido also accused De Lima of receiving bribes from big-time suspected Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, who has recently been arrested in Abu Dhabi.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has stated that the preliminary investigation results of the DOJ on the alleged drug trafficking involvement of De Lima will be sent to the Office of Ombudsman.