CA reverses Ombudsman’s decision junking de Lima’s cases vs Aguirre, Guevarra

By: Faith Argosino - | November 26,2023 - 04:16 PM

A composite image of Former Senator Leila de Lima.

A composite image of Former Senator Leila de Lima by DANIELLA MARIE AGACER from INQUIRER and AFP photos

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has reversed the ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing the criminal and administrative complaints lodged by former Senator Leila de Lima against former Department of Justice secretaries Vitaliano Aguirre II and Menardo Guevarra.

In its decision dated November 21, CA Special 17th Division granted De Lima’s petition to reverse the Ombudsman’s decision.

“The assailed Notices of the Ombudsman are hereby declared void for lack of due process,” the Appellate Court declared.

“Accordingly, this case is remanded to the Ombudsman for appropriate action for a proper disposition of this case,” it ordered.

In a 22-page complaint affidavit submitted to the Ombudsman on October 29, 2018, de Lima had accused Aguirre of admitting convicted felons with crimes “involving moral turpitude” as state witnesses.

De Lima had said this move by Aguirre violated Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) 6981 or Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act.

Likewise, she accused him of committing “felony of dereliction of duty” for violating Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or RA 3019.

On the other hand, complaints for allowing illegal admission of convicted felons into the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program and “gross misconduct and negligence” were also filed against Guevarra.

However, in 2019 and 2020, Ombudsman “dismissed outright” de Lima’s criminal and administrative complaints against the respondents and denied her motion for reconsideration.

On November 13, the former senator underwent physical and medical examinations at the custodial facility of Philippine National Police (PNP) before she was temporarily freed on bail after nearly seven years of detention.

The former senator was arrested in 2017 for drug allegations.

De Lima maintained her innocence and repeatedly denied the charges against her.

She was first acquitted in February 2021 after one of the three cases filed against her was junked by Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205.

In May 12, Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 likewise cleared both de Lima and former aide Ronnie Dayan on charges related to the illegal drug trade.


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TAGS: Court of Appeals, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Leila De Lima, Vitaliano Aguirre II

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