DOJ to seek hold departure order vs De Lima

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to ask the Muntinlupa court to issue a Hold Departure Order (HDO) against Senator Leila De Lima in connection to the three separate drug cases filed against her over alleged involvement in the narco-trading in the state penitentiary.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said he will ask the prosecutors to file an application for HDO in the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) to prevent the Senator from leaving the country upon issuance of warrants of arrest.

An HDO has a validity of five years. It bars an accused to leave the country pending the hearing of their cases in court.

"Kung halibawang magkaron ng warrant of arrest then we will ask the court to issue a hold departure order," the Justice Secretary said in a press conference.

According to Aguirre, the warrants could be released on Monday if the judge to be assigned to the cases determines that there is probable cause to proceed with the arraignment.

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

Three separate drug cases have been filed against Senator De Lima last Friday for her alleged violation of the RA 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

On October 7 last year, the DOJ has issued a lookout order against the Senator, placing her flights and travels under the Bureau of Immigration's monitoring.

However, De Lima was able to fly to the United States last December to receive an award after the DOJ issued an order allowing her to leave the country.

The conclusion of the DOJ's 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 inmate Jaybee Sebastian. (SunStar Philippines)

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