MAYOR Rodrigo Duterte defended Justice Sec. Leila de Lima who was the target of the widespread protest staged by the influential religious group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).
“Of course I sympathize with her,” the mayor said Sunday night. “Although in the past, we had an exchange of words, those are days of work. She has a duty, I have mine.”
Military sources said over 100,000 members of INC were expected to gather in Davao City Monday. The leadership of INC, however, announced the end of the protests Monday morning.
Bienvenido Santiago, INC general evangelist, the suspension came following an agreement INC had with the government.
“Payapa na po ang lahat,” he said on TV.
The protest came after De Lima was accused of meddling in the affairs of the church when DOJ investigated INC leaders over allegations of abduction.
A former prosecutor, Duterte said De Lima should have had the prosecution handle the allegations against INC leaders.
“It should have been handled by the fiscal,” Duterte said. “But if you give it too much importance, it seems like you are asking for attention. I am not saying that De Lima was asking for one.”
The fiscal, he said, has jurisdiction over the case.
“Pag ganon, naghahanap ka ng gulo (You are looking for trouble),” he said. “Give it to the fiscal, whether you file a case or not. After al, the fiscal has the original jurisdiction over the issue.”
Duterte had blasted De Lima in the past over the issue of alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao City and the presence of Davao Death Squad. | NewsDesk