Judge Lelu lashes at Catanduanes SP in open letter

VIRAC, Catanduanes 4/3/17 (Bicol Standard)—Believing that she was not given the opportunity to defend herself, RTC Executive Judge Lelu Contreras issued a three-page open letter to the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan explaining her side on the accusations against her.

The letter was addressed particularly to those who approved the Resolution seeking her relief.


"My office is just a stone-throw from your offices. Had you verified from our records, you could have known that the application for search warrant for the drug laboratory was filed on November 26, 2016 at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon and I issued the search warrant at 5:55 o'clock of the same day. Had you inquired from me why it took me almost three (3) hours to issue the search warrant, I could have informed you that there was no affidavit of a witness/deponent attached to the application, which is required by the Rules of Court. The witness/deponent even used the computer of one of the court stenographers to prepare his two-page affidavit. But you knew very well that, at the time of the filing of the application for search warrant on November 26, the Chinese owners/operators of the drug laboratory had already left the premises the day before, and yet you keep on blaming me for their escape," she wrote.

"[Y]ou also insisted that, during the hearing conducted by a Committee of the House of Representatives, I lied about my presence in the premises, and you chose to disregard my apology to the members of the Committee."

"You did not even consider the fact that I even admitted to the Committee that it was just a matter of MISCOMMUNICATION on my part [...] Yes I was present in the vicinity of the building at around noontime, together with my stenographer, after having been informed by the OIC-Chief of Police, PCI James S. Ronatay that PCI Josephine Macura Clemen confirmed it to be a drug laboratory. In fact, I advised PCI ROnatay to apply for a search warrant to enable them to search every corner of the building. There wa s nothing illegal or unethical when I went to the vicinity of the building prior to the issuance of a search warrant because I DID NOT ENTER THE BUILDING. I simply wanted to personally see the exact location of the place to give me a better picture when I conduct the personal examination of the applicant for the search warrant."

She further added that there was nothing illegal about her entering the building for the first time at NIGHTTIME of November 26, after she issued the search warrant. Neither was there anything irregular about her attendance at the congressional inquiry, especially since she was being "erroneously alluded to." "Your hastily-passed and obviously, politically-manipulated resolution based on erroneous and malicious accusations had destroyed me, both in the press and in the social media."

"I remain steadfast for I know I have not done anything to jeopardize my work, my position as dispenser of justice, and the people of Catanduanes," the letter reads.

"MAY THE LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL," she wrote at the end.