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US senator told not to depend on hearsay

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday invited the staff of a United States senator to come to the country and review the government evidence against detained opposition leader Sen. Leila de Lima.

Guevarra issued the statement in response to Sen. Patrick Leahy’s statement that De Lima was wrongfully prosecuted and detained.

Leahy used as his basis for his claim the findings from various human rights organizations, US State Department and the United Nations.

“I invite his legal staff to come over and pore over the evidence so far presented in court, instead of relying on so-called ‘reports’ which are at best secondary evidence, and at worst multiple hearsay,” Guevarra said.

De Lima was accused of complicity in illegal drugs during her stint as Justice secretary. She is currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

Also, Guevarra rejected Leahy’s call for the Philippine government to provide De Lima a fair trial if the Duterte administration does not want to release her from incarceration.

“I wish Sen. Leahy and his four other colleagues in the US Senate knew that much of our constitutional law and rules on criminal procedure had their origin in US law. I also wish they know that Sen. de Lima’s indictment was upheld by the Philippine Supreme Court and that she has been freely exercising all the rights of an accused in a fair and public trial.”

“They also ought to know that Sen. de Lima can only be released upon an acquittal, and not at anytime upon pressure exerted by foreign politicians who do not represent the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,” Guevarra said in a message.