Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

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Justice delayed is justice denied.

It’s been four months since the Filipino people were subjected to hours of television drama surrounding the Congressional hearing on the alleged illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons.

At the center of this political telenovela was former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima, whom witnesses accused of receiving money from drug lord inmates supposedly to help finance her electoral campaign.

The hearings were revealing in that it exposed corrupt practices and criminal activity inside the national penitentiary. They were also wrought with innuendo — sexual and otherwise — and put the senator in a very public confrontation with, among others, her driver-lover and alleged bagman, Ronnie Dayan.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre appeared quite confident during the hearings that his department indeed has a solid case that can be brought against De Lima. However, some of the witness testimonies crumbled before the public’s very eye and many had wondered if and when formal charges will be filed against the lady senator.

Well, we know of at least three cases that have recently been filed against De Lima:

-A criminal case for “willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully” advising Dayan through his daughter not to testify during the House inquiry which is in violation of Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code. It refers to the “disobedience to summons issued by the National Assembly, its committees or subcommittees, by the Constitutional Commissions, its committees, subcommittees or divisions.” In simple language: obstruction of justice.

-Disbarment case before the Supreme Court over her alleged “illicit affair” with the married Dayan.

-Complaint filed accusing De Lima of involvement in the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons while she was Justice secretary.

The last two cases were both filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), with only the first case brought forth by DOJ.

That the filing of the charges, we can say, came late in the game is cause for frustration among the key players in this drama, but more so among the Filipino people. The slow pace in which the filed cases are proceeding could only add to the dismay. Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for Aguirre and this administration’s justice system.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

On another front, it’s been over 200 days since Bongbong Marcos filed his formal protest against the election of Leni Robredo as Vice President.

Until the Supreme Court issues its ruling on this case, it will continue to cloud the legitimacy of the Office of the Vice President under Robredo. It also perpetuates serious doubts and even conspiracy theories that the last elections were rigged and manipulated.

Recent discoveries that unused SD cards of vote counting machines contained data, and the ceiling collapse at the Sta. Rosa, Laguna warehouse of Smartmatic which housed the COMELEC’s Memory Configuration Room (MCR) could only hurt efforts to ensure the validity of the VP elections and bring much-needed normalcy to the office of the country’s second highest official.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

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