JAILED Senator Leila M. de Lima denied allegations that she was part of a group that plotted the ouster of President Rodrigo R. Duterte by linking him and his family to the illegal drug trade.
In an affidavit submitted to the Justice department, the senator, a critic of the president’s deadly war on drugs, said the police’s complaint of sedition against her and Mr. Duterte’s political opponents lacked sufficient evidence.
“Since the complaint does not impute any particular act against me, it appears that I am not even a respondent, but merely one of those vaguely identified as ‘enumerated personalities’ against whom they have no sufficient proof to make a categorical allegation,” she said in her filing.
Aside from inciting to sedition, police in July also filed cyberlibel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against Ms. De Lima, Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo and more than 30 others whom it accused of circulating a video about the president’s alleged drug links.
Included in the complaint was Peter Joemel Advincula, the self-confessed drug dealer who was featured in the videos.
Mr. Advincula first surfaced in May to seek legal assistance in filing charges against members of the drug syndicate he was formerly in. Later that month he surrendered to police for estafa and tagged the Liberal Party to be behind the propaganda.
Ms. De Lima said she had not committed libel in connection with a press briefing of Mr. Advincula early this year because she has been detained since February, 2017.
“I am expected to refute allegations of fact, not conclusions of law,” the lawmaker said. “Without such allegation of fact, there is nothing for me to even refute.”
She also denied the allegation of Mr. Advincula that he had talked to Ms. de Lima’s staff.
Human Rights Watch has called on authorities to drop the “preposterous complaint,” saying it was an attempt to harass and silence critics of the government’s bloody war on drugs.
A conviction for incitement to sedition carries a maximum penalty of six years in jail.
Ms. De Lima is in jail for allegedly conspiring to commit illegal drug trade inside the national jail in Muntinlupa City when she was still the Justice secretary. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas