#PingSays: On reports of possible PH withdrawal from ICC, and DOJ case vs Kerwin Espinosa and co. | March 14, 2018

In an interview, Sen. Lacson answers questions on:
– charges vs suspected drug personalities including Kerwin Espinosa
– reported possible withdrawal of PH from the ICC
– meeting with President Duterte in Malacanang

Quotes from the interview…Β 

On the DOJ case vs Kerwin Espinosa:
“They already said hindi nila kinonsider ang transcript, ang proceedings sa Senate. Had they summoned or issued a subpoena duces tecum sa Senate secretariat, I’m sure papadalhan sila. And the outcome could have been different. Kasi iba ang dito naman di ba nag-admit naman siya, na isa siyang drug lord, magkano kinikita, sino ang pinapadalhan, magkano pinadala. Naroon lahat yan.”
“Ang procedure nila sa DOJ at the level ng National Prosecution Service, pinapabayaan ang panel of prosecutors to do their thing without any guidance. And then pag may findings, especially dismissal, sinabi naman niya it’s subject to review. I remember ito lagi clamor ni Sen. Sotto, before, during the time of GMA, ang review ng dismissal ng drug cases, Office of the President. This was carried over until sa time ni DOJ Secretary Gonzalez, tapos Datumanong. But when the administration of President Aquino took over and Sec De Lima ang SOJ, parang withdraw niya ang circular and instead replaced it with one that lowered the level ng review sa SOJ. Hindi na Malacanang. Parang SOJ na lang ang level ng authority to conduct an automatic review kung drug cases ang nadi-dismiss.”

On whether CIDG may be at fault:
“Yan ang sinabi nila, in-admit naman nila. So nagkulang nga sila. Where can you find better evidence than an open public hearing na kita namang walang na-coerce, wala naman pinangakuan ng reward, and voluntarily siya nagsabi mismo involved siya sa drugs? Di ba material evidence yan? Para ma-neglect o mo o makalimutan mo na i-submit sa DOJ especially na nagko-conduct ng preliminary investigation.”

On possibility of a perjury case:
“Kung ni-retract niya ang in-admit niya rito, may jurisprudence na mas may weight ang naunang testimony kesa sa retracted testimony. So I think DOJ can still pursue the case based on the open public hearing testimony ni Kerwin Espinosa and some other witnesses na nagsasabi pointing to him as probably guilty. Remember, ang threshold lang naman sa pag-file ng case, ng information is probable cause that the respondent is probably guilty of the crime as he’s being accused. Di ito sa court na guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Mababa ang threshold. So kung nag-admit siya rito nakita natin walang namilit sa kanya, di ba sapat na probable cause yan?”
“But a perjury case masyadong mababa compared to a drug case. Perjury is bailable and penalty is probably 6 years.”

On President Duterte’s reported position to have PH withdraw from ICC:
“Rightly or wrongly, meron siyang reason. Ang isang compelling reason probably and I can only speculate as much as you can speculate, na siguro napuno na rin siya and he cannot see any fair treatment from the ICC based sa Rome Statute. And this is not without a precedent. I remember there’s a South American country na naunang nag-withdraw ang kanilang head of state.”
“We should at least wait for him to clarify ang kanyang action taken. Kasi siguradong may reason siya for withdrawing.”

On whether the withdrawal should have Senate’s consent:
“That I’m not very sure kung kailangan. Kasi ang pag-ratify Senate ang nagra-ratify by 16 votes. I think Sen. Drilon introduced an amendment, kung Senate nagra-ratify, kailangan ang pag-withdraw mo should be with the consent of 2/3 of the Senate. I don’t know the status of that proposal of Sen Drilon.”

On meeting with President Duterte in Malacanang:
“Tinalakay lang namin is BBL. He just impressed on us gusto niya maipasa ang BBL even ahead of Charter change. Yan lang diniscuss namin, ang significance. After all, ang main objective niya is peace in Mindanao.”

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