Lacson defends De Lima over resign calls

November 14, 2011 11:30 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Nov. 14 – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday came in defense of Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima over calls from the camp of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her to step down from office after the Dominican Republic denied rumors that the ailing former leader has applied for political asylum in the Caribbean nation.

”This time I will defend Secretary De Lima. The camp of former PGMA has no right to call for De Lima to step down for saying peddling lies. For nine long years, they have been peddling lies. They should be the last persons to call for the resignation of De Lima,” Lacson said.

However, Lacson said the incident should serve as lesson for De Lima not to speak to the media unless she has already checked her facts on the issue.

”That’s the problem when you deal with media too much. I hope she learns her lessons, at least, she’s in hot water at least from the camp of Mrs. Arroyo. She should be more prudent this time,” Lacson said.

Lacson also said that De Lima should not issue apology to the camp of Arroyo.

On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III believed that De Lima should apologize and accept her mistake.

”Yes, she should apologize. If you believe in a text message without verifying, you owe a public apology,” Sotto said.

For his part, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile felt that the government should allow Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad for humanitarian consideration.

”You know, if I were to be asked, the former President is ailing, if it involves life and death, use your discretion. It’s common sense. You should be in favor of protecting and saving the life of the person,” Enrile said.

Enrile visited the former President a week ago in her La Vista, Quezon City residence, saying the former leader “is really sick.”

”I saw her a week ago. I went to see her in her place in La Vista. I saw her to be very sick. She has braces. I asked the doctor. They said if the braces snap off, something happens, she could die anytime,” Enrile told the media.

Enrile said the former President was not in high spirits, moving like a robot, adding, “I saw her to be ambulant.”

”She is very sick. I told her, Madame President, you seem to be anemic. Her lips are very dull, very pale,” he added.

The veteran lawmaker clarified that he went to the Arroyo’s residence on a social visit.

Like Enrile, Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. appealed also to the DOJ to review its decision disallowing Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad.

”It would do more harm than good if her condition worsens here in the country. There are no cases filed against her that will legally impede her from travelling abroad. In addition, it is a Constitutionally-guaranteed right of every Filipino to travel. What she is invoking is a right. She is not seeking a privilege,” Revilla said.

Enrile believed that former President Arroyo would not abscond with her present condition.

”I don’t think she will abscond. It would be silly for her to do that. First, she will lose everything. She will be a pariah in this country if she will abscond. Where she will go. And if she did, you can always cancel her passport and work diplomatically with the country and bring her back,” Enrile said. (PNA) scs/jfm


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