Implications of De Lima’s acquittal

One news that completed the work week is the second acquittal of Leila de Lima by the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204 on her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade. The first one was in 2021 when one of the three drug cases filed against her was dismissed by the Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 205. But what are the implications of her second victory on former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs?

Senator Leila de Lima’s acquittal have a number of implications.

Politically, her release or acquittal could affect the power dynamics in the Philippines and could impact the political careers of those involved. It could also be a sign of the country’s commitment to upholding human rights and the rule of law. Unfortunately, this also subtly means “Goodbye, Duterte!” for Bongbong Marcos.


Mr. Marcos wants to show the world that his family is back and wanted legitimacy as well global acceptance. His family had been in isolation for decades and will therefore sacrifice some things for a bigger gain. That could include Mr. Duterte’s interests. Second, Mr. Marcos, who made a 180-degrees turn on the Roman Statute, wanted to prove that the rule of law is working in the Philippines. Allowing de Lima to taste justice is a way of proving that the rule of law exists.

De Lima’s acquittal, however, is a blow to the Duterte administration. Her acquittal will just increase scrutiny and criticism of Duterte’s approach to the War on Drugs, which has been heavily criticized by human rights organizations for its alleged extra-judicial killings and abuse of power. With De Lima acquitted, the idea that the War on Drugs is being used as a tool to silence critics and punish political opponents, rather than as a genuine effort to curb drug crime and drug abuse in the country, will just be reinforced.

Lastly, de Lima’s victory is also expected to set a precedent for future cases related to political persecution and human rights violations. It is not just a win for de Lima but also for vocal critics and opposition in the future.

Addressing election case-related vacuum with career-based LGU Administrators

Some people in Legazpi City are walking on a tight rope because of the axe hanging over the head of Geraldine Rosal, the elected mayor of Legazpi City. According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), she is disqualified for violating the election rules for allegedly engaging on vote buying. But before the second placer, Alfredo Garbin, took his oath of office, the Supreme Court issued a status quo ante order. That means Rosal will sit as the mayor until everything is settled.

Geraldine’s husband, Noel, was earlier disqualified for Albay Governor because of the same case. Unfortunately, Noel was not as lucky as Geraldine because the former was a sitting mayor when he allegedly violated Section 68(a) of the Omnibus Election Code and “gave money to influence, induce or corrupt the voters”.

The cases of Geraldine and Noel are not isolated cases. In fact, almost all local government officials are guilty of the same with some doing the act in benign manner. Or, some officials do not have aggressive opposition who are willing to move heaven and earth and seek the disqualification of the sitting and suspected incumbent guilty of Section 68(a).

To eradicate, if not minimize cases like the Rosals, the Congress could pass a law requiring reelectionists, starting with the local chief executives, to automatically resign from their public posts at the start of the campaign season. The local government will then be manned by the local government administrators who should be hired as career officials and not as employees who are co-terminus with their hiring authorities.

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Legislating Minimum Wage

Laws are always unstable unless they are founded on the manners of a nation; and manners are the only durable and resisting power in a people.

Alexis de Tocqueville

The Lower and Upper Chambers of the Philippine Congress are quite busy the past weeks. Their target — to legislate the country’s minimum wage and help the labor force cope up with the rising inflation. The intention is noble, at least at face value, as it tries to address the welfare of the helpless and the needy. In the very first place, the purpose of legislation is to promote public safety, order, and welfare.

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Currently, there are at least seven House Bills and a couple of Senate Bills that seeks to amend the Labor Code of the Philippines to institutionalize a national minimum wage for private sector workers. As Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said in a statement, “If workers are putting in hours and hours of labor, day after day, and yet are still unable to afford their rent, bills and basic necessities, then there is a problem.”

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COLLABDev, data and analytics

Data and analytics are essential tools for local governance – they provide evidence-based decision-making, help identify patterns and trends, enable effective resource allocation, measure performance, and promote transparency and accountability.

Indeed, data and data analytics are incredibly important. Local governance involves making decisions that affect the lives of local residents, businesses, and communities. Evidence, therefore, is needed to support these decisions and enable local officials to make informed choices based on objective information rather than relying on intuition and guesswork. Data analytics can help local officials identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent. For example, data on crime rates could highlight areas where additional police attention may be needed, or data on traffic congestion could inform decisions about road infrastructure improvements. An information on the common illnesses and diseases in an area for a particular month of the year could also help rural health units prepare the medicines needed so that they will not be caught off-guard when cases increase.

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Local governments also have limited resources, and they need to allocate these resources effectively to achieve their goals. With data analytics, local officials will be able to determine where resources are needed most, based on evidence rather than speculation.

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