Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Congressman Win Gatchalian called for the immediate resignation of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima after she declared her intention to run for the Senate in next year’s elections.
Gatchalian said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is such a sensitive government agency and should neither be associated nor influenced by political interest even though the secretary is a presidential appointee.
“With Secretary De Lima’s formal announcement of her plan to run for the Senate, it is but proper for her to immediately resign from her post and not wait for the filing of her certificate of candidacy in October,” said Gatchalian, who represents Valenzuela City’s 1st Congressional District.
He pointed out that all the actions of De Lima as DOJ secretary will now be suspected especially if the cases involve members of the opposition who are also running for the Senate.
“Since De Lima will be running under the Liberal Party, her impartiality as DOJ secretary will be in question especially if members of the opposition parties have pending cases before her prosecutors. The DOH should be shielded from partisan politics,” explained Gatchalian.
De Lima announced her senatorial run during her birthday celebration Thursday (Aug. 27) at the DOJ grounds, which is just a stone’s throw from where some 2,000 members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) gathered along Padre Faura Street to protest the justice secretary’s alleged meddling into the affairs of the INC.
The INC members’ protest came after the filing of an illegal detention case by expelled INC minister Isaias Samson Jr. against eight leaders of the INC.
The protesters are questioning the haste by which Secretaty De Lima acted on the complaint of Samson while she dilly-dallied on the more controversial case of the Mamasapano incident.
Gatchalian further urged De Lima to respect the constitutional rights of the INC members to peaceful assembly as well as their freedom of expression against the DOJ’s swift action on the Samson complaint.
“This is precisely the reason why Secretary De Lima should now resign so she can spare the DOJ of politics now that she has threw her hat with the administration party,” said Gatchalian.