No overkill. Guevarra defends additional personnel to prosecute de Lima

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday shrugged off allegations that the team to prosecute jailed Sen. Leila de Lima was enormously beefed up to lock in the conviction of the embattled opposition leader for illegal drugs.

“There’s nothing significant at all about this purely administrative matter that has been brought to my attention more than a month ago.”

“The team has been quite big since the beginning as the prosecutors have to deal with three different cases with different sets of accused in three different courts, not to mention that they have to confer with some witnesses who are in prison…Absolutely nothing to do with US senators nor with so-called ninja cops,” he said in a statement.

Earlier, the Free Leila Movement disclosed that the government has employed a total of 18 Justice Department personnel, 11 trial prosecutors, and additional administrative and paralegal support to handle the prosecution of de Lima.

De Lima is facing charges of conspiracy to commit illegal drugs trade at Branches 205, 206 and 256 of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court.

Around 40 prosecution witnesses have testified against her, including former Bureau of Corrections officer in charge Rafael Ragos and Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who used to head the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police.

A former chair of Commission on Human Rights who had been critical of the President Duterte’s brutal antidrug campaign, De Lima maintained that the drug charges against her were all fabrications and politically motivated.

Recently, two United States senators’ call to bar the entry on American soil of any Philippine official who had a hand de Lima’s “politically motivated” imprisonment. #

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