De Lima brands as ‘preposterous’ Php300-M bribe by Ampatuans

By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.

MANILA, Aug. 4 (PNA) — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima on Monday branded as “preposterous” the claims of private prosecutor Nena Santos that the Php300-million bribe offered to her (Santos) by the Ampatuans may have landed at the hands of prosecutors.

However, Santos refused to identify the prosecutors saying that she will only identify those who accepted the bribe once De Lima is not anymore the DOJ Secretary.

“If she (Santos) really has an evidence, why should she wait for my exit here from the DOJ, right? If she really has an evidence, go ahead, do not wait for me to leave,” De Lima told reporters in an ambush interview on Monday.

De Lima said that the allegation against the prosecutors is unfair.

“I talked to the public prosecutors last week, they’re up in arms. Yung sinasabi kasi na hindi daw tinanggap yung Php300 million, napunta daw sa public prosecutors, is that a fair supposition? Is that a fair statement that since the private prosecutor turned down the bribe, it then went to the public prosecutors,” De Lima said.

“Such a conclusion is simply preposterous. Such a huge jump into conclusion in the absence of a clearer evidence,” De Lima added.

Santos accused the public prosecutors of conspiring with the Ampatuans, the principal accused in the death of 58 people including 32 journalists in 2009 when it rested its case on 28 of the 197 accused.

However, DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III last Friday said that Santos was consulted of the plan and resting the case for 28 of the accused is a strategy to hasten the proceedings following the instructions of the Supreme Court (SC).

“So we are taking advantage of that, and according to the public prosecutors, we have more than sufficient evidence already to achieve conviction. And, remember, criminal prosecution is always under the control and supervision of the public prosecutors. It’s the primary responsibility of the public prosecutors kahit may mga private prosecutors,” De Lima said on Monday. (PNA)