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De Lima: ‘I will not step down’

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima broke her silence   Tuesday   over the indignation rally staged by the Iglesia Ni Cristo against her and denied insinuations that the INC agreed to conclude its protests in exchange for her resignation.

“I will resign when I’m 100 percent sure that I will join the senatorial race. But as of this time or in the next several days I don’t see any reason to leave my post,” De Lima told reporters.

“About the supposed deal as far as I know there is no such deal,” she added.

Fighting form.  Justice Secretary Leila de Lima strikes a combative pose in keeping with her promise not to resign in this file photo.
The INC held protests over five days to demand that De Lima resign for deciding to investigate an illegal detention complaint filed by ousted minister Isaias Samson Jr. against high church officials.

Trixie Cruz-Angeles, counsel for Samson, earlier urged the government to reveal the nature of its agreement with the religious group, but the Palace said there was no such deal.

De Lima was part of the emergency meeting in Malacañang   Sunday   evening while thousands of INC members were in Edsa protesting the government’s alleged violation of their religious freedom.

She declined to say what transpired during the meeting.

“I am back to work. Lots of work to do,” she said.

The Palace   on Tuesday   said it supported De Lima, saying President Benigno Aquino III had full trust and confidence in her.

“The situation remains, the rule of law continues to be followed,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a statement.

A militant group, Sanlakas, demanded full disclosure of the deal reached between the Palace and the INC leaders.

“The credibility of both the 2016 elections and the case of illegal detention of former INC Minister Isaias Samson are now in jeopardy and will be subjected to speculation and reservation unless the agreement reached is fully disclosed and political deals are untangled,” said Ron Pedrosa, secretary-general of the group.

He said various camps have speculated that part of the Malacañang-initiated deal was the INC’s endorsement of the candidacy of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II in the 2016 elections. With Sandy Araneta

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