JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Senator Leila de Lima could be arrested on Monday, after the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court's raffling of the drug cases filed against her and seven others.

In a press conference at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Aguirre said once the three separate cases filed against De Lima and her alleged co-conspirators responsible for the proliferation of illegal drugs in the state penitentiary were already raffled, the judge who will set to handle her cases will decide when the warrants of arrest will be released.

Aguirre, explaining the court's procedure, said the judge should determine first if there is probable cause to proceed with the cases.

"Pwede [siyang maaresto] kung malinaw sa ating hukom ang probable cause," Aguirre said.

"After the determination of probable cause of the prosecution magkakaron pa ng determination of probable cause by the judge. Kailangan ma-satisfy ang judge na talagang may probable cause o may sala ang mga nakademandang ito bago mag-issue ng warrant of arrest," Aguirre added.

De Lima and seven others are indicted by the DOJ on Friday, for their alleged violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 specifically Section 5 (sale, trading dispensation, delivery of dangerous drugs) in relation to section 3 and Section 26 (attempt and conspiracy) and Section 28 (criminal liability of government officials and employees).

The filing of the charges against them came after the Court of Appeals junked de Lima's bid for the appeals court to issue a temporary restraining order stopping the DOJ in rendering its decision.

Slapped with the same charges are former Bureau of Corrections Officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos, de Lima's former body guard Ronnie Dayan, her supposed nephew Jose Adrian Dera and former DOJ Undersecretary Jesus Franklin Bucayu.

Completing respondents in the charge sheet are former Bucor Colonel Wilfredo Eli, New Bilibid Prison (NBP) high profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian and the senator's former security detail Joenel Sanchez.

The conclusion of the DOJ panel of prosecutors was released after the conduct of preliminary investigation last December on the complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation, its former executives Ruel Lasala and Reynaldo Esmeralda, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and Sebastian.

Former Justice Secretary De Lima is accused of benefiting in the illegal drug trading in the state penitentiary during her tenure as the head of the DOJ.

Inmates who testified in a congressional probe last October said the senator had received monthly payola and had coddled big time drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison for her 2016 senatorial bid. (SunStar Philippines)


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