OPINION: Founded on false hopes, sustained by more falsehood

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Oct 15 2017 09:43 PM

Fake news. We have that in abundance direct from the President himself.

Now we have Fake Charge.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio minced no words in his 39-page dissenting opinion to the majority decision (9-6) upholding the warrant of arrest on Sen. Leila de Lima issued by the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) early this year on the charge that she engaged in illegal drug trading while she was secretary of justice.

“Based on the Information itself, the accusation of illegal trade of drugs against petitioner is blatantly a pure invention. This Court, the last bulwark of democracy and liberty in the land, should never countenance such a fake charge. To allow the continued detention of petitioner under this Information is one of the grossest injustices ever perpetrated in recent memory in full view of the Filipino nation and the entire world,” Carpio said.

Carpio in his concluding remarks, said: “The Information glaringly does not charge the non-bailable offense of illegal trade of drugs since not a single essential element of this particular offense is alleged in the Information. What the Information actually charges is the bailable offense of direct bribery. Yet petitioner is held without bail.

“Worse, direct bribery falls under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, not the RTC that issued the Warrant of Arrest that keeps petitioner under detention for the non-existent, non-bailable offense of illegal trade of drugs as charged in the present Information.”

Carpio noted that the alleged co-conspirators and co-principals of the senator, who has investigated the alleged existence of the Davao Death Squad under then Mayor Duterte when she was head of the Commission on Human Rights, are not even charged as John Does or Jane Does in the Information. 

The DOJ used prisoners convicted of drug trafficking to testify against De Lima reportedly in exchange for some favors.

“Without the inclusion in the Information of the co-principals and co-conspirators who allegedly actually conducted and performed the illegal sale or illegal trade of dangerous drugs, petitioner cannot be charged with conspiracy. In conspiracy to illegally sell or illegally trade dangerous drugs, the identity of the actual sellers or traders must not only be alleged in the Information, but such actual sellers or traders must also be charged in the Information, either by name or as John Does or Jane Does. 

“It is self-evident that in any sale or trade of goods or services, there must be an actual seller and actual buyer. There is no illegal sale or illegal trade of dangerous drugs if there is no actual seller and actual buyer of the dangerous drugs,” Carpio articulated what to even non-lawyers is common sense.

Carpio likened the illegal drug trading charge against De Lima of  “charging petitioner as a co-principal and co-conspirator in the crime of kidnapping for ransom with murder, where the Information alleges that petitioner received part of the ransom money from the perpetrators of the crime who are high profile inmates in the New Bilibid Prison, but the Information does not allege the identity of the actual kidnappers and killers, the identity of the victim, the fact of death of the victim or the corpus delicti, how the victim was killed, and the amount of the ransom money.

“Obviously, such an Information is void ab initio to charge anyone for the offense of kidnapping for ransom with murder. Such an Information, like the present Information under consideration, would be laughable if not for the non-bailable detention of the accused.”

Carpio was joined in his dissent by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa and Francis Jardeleza.

Duterte was swept into the presidency by 16 million Filipinos mesmerized by his promise of eliminating illegal drugs in six months.  It has not happened. 

This is a government founded on false hopes and being supported  by more falsehoods. How long can they sustain it?

Blog: www.ellentordesillas.com

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