MANILA (Updated) -- The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204 issued Thursday afternoon, February 23, warrants of arrest against Senator Leila de Lima, her former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan, and former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Marcos Ragos.
The arrest warrants issued at 2 p.m. were in connection with their alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when De Lima was still the Justice secretary.
In the order issued by Muntinlupa RTC Judge Juanita Guerrero, the court said there was probable cause for the issuance of the warrants for their arrest.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said in an ANC interview that the "warrant of arrest is inevitable".
"The arrest warrant is expected because we filed strong cases against De Lima," he said.
The Department of Justice filed three cases last Friday, February 17, against De Lima and seven others for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in connection with her alleged involvement in the proliferation of drugs in the NBP.
In a television interview Thursday, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III confirmed the issuance of the warrant, saying he was informed about it by his staff.
He said law enforcers are already at the Senate to serve the arrest warrant on De Lima but he warned the arresting officers that they cannot arrest the senator inside Senate premises.
He said De Lima is willing to comply with the court order. "Everything will be done in accordance with the rules of the court," Pimentel said.
He also said that De Lima is not suspended, so she will still be treated as a senator. (Glaiza Jarloc/Camille P. Balagtas/SunStar Philippines)
Like and follow SunStar Philippines on Facebook.