De Lima: Issuance of arrest warrant 'questionable' | SunStar

De Lima: Issuance of arrest warrant 'questionable'

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De Lima: Issuance of arrest warrant 'questionable'

Thursday, February 23, 2017

MANILA. Senator Leila de Lima emotionally addresses the media after a warrant for her arrest was issued by a regional trial court Thursday, February 23, 2017, in Pasay City. (AP)

MANILA (Updated) -- Senator Leila de Lima questioned Thursday the issuance of a warrant for her arrest, citing the motions to quash that her camp had filed before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) are supposed to be heard Friday, February 24.

"Dapat bukas ay didinggin muna yung inihain ng aming mga abogado na motions to quash doon sa tatlong kaso (The courts are supposed to hear the motions to quash that our lawyers had filed). Sa katunayan, yung prosecution, specifically the DOJ (Department of Justice), had reset the hearing tomorrow for March 3. Kaya po nagulat po kami lahat na biglang inissue ang order and warrant of arrest (That's why we were surprised that the arrest warrant was issued)," she said.

(Video by Al Padilla)

The Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 issued Thursday afternoon the arrest warrant against De Lima over her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when she was still the Justice secretary.

Warrants of arrest were also issued against De Lima's former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan and former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Marcos Ragos.

But De Lima said that as of 7:20 p.m., the arrest warrant has not yet been served. She said that for now, she will go home to her family and return to the Senate on Friday, February 24, to face the arresting team.

She vowed to face all the charges against her.

"Wala po akong balak takasan yang mga kaso ko. Wala po akong balak magtago dahil haharapin ko po ang mga kaso na yan...Tuloy ang laban ni Leila de Lima (I have no plans of escaping. I will not hide because I will face the cases filed against me. I will continue the fight)," she said.

De Lima thanked her party mates in the Liberal Party for their strong support to her cause.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon assured De Lima will follow the law and will never turn her back or hide. He further said De Lima is determined to use all legal arguments but will never run from the law.

After the brief press conference, Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Francis Pangilinan, both from the LP, joined the convoy taking De Lima to her home in Muntinlupa City. The two senators earlier expressed concerns for their colleague's safety.

Last Friday, February 17, the Department of Justice filed three cases against De Lima and seven others for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in connection with their involvement in NBP illegal drug trade.

De Lima, Dayan and Ragos were charged with violation of Section 5 (sale) in relation to Section 3 (jj trading), Section 26 (b) and Section 28 or the criminal liability of government officials and employees of RA 9165.

Dayan was said to be De Lima's bagman, while Ragos confessed that millions of pesos were delivered to the senator's house when she was still the Justice secretary. The money was allegedly used to fund De Lima's senatorial campaign.

The warrant issued Thursday was just for one of the three cases filed against the senator. The other two cases are being handled by Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 and 206.

The cases were based on the complaints filed by former National Bureau of Investigation, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, and inmate Jaybee Niño Sebastian.

De Lima earlier filed an Omnibus Motion before the three courts, asking to hold in abeyance the issuance of a warrant for her arrest. (LMY/Camille P. Balagtas/SunStar Philippines)

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