THE MANILA TIMES EXCLUSIVE ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW

De Lima arrest looms

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is moving to indict Sen. Leila de Lima to expedite her arrest in connection with her links to the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd said on Tuesday.

AGUIRRE AT THE TIMES Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd (center, facing camera), discusses several issues with executives, editors and reporters of The Manila Times. To his right is Times President and CEO Dante Ang 2nd. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

In a roundtable discussion with The Manila Times editorial team on Tuesday, Aguirre said the drug trafficking charge against the senator will be filed in regular courts instead of the Office of the Ombudsman where cases have often languished.

“A crime not in relation to your office, for example trading of illegal drugs, under the Dangerous Drugs Act, it is provided that the exclusive jurisdiction is with the RTC (regional trial courts),” he explained.

If the judge agrees that there is probable cause to try de Lima for drug trafficking, the former Justice secretary faces certain arrest and may not be able to post bail.


Aguirre noted that under Section 5 of the Dangerous Drugs Act (sale and trading of illegal drugs), taken together with Section 26 (b) (conspiracy), drug trafficking is a non-bailable offense if the evidence of guilt is strong.

Moreover, drug trafficking is a continuing offense and the case can be filed in the places where the crime was committed, he said.

The Cabinet official stressed that there was sufficient evidence against de Lima and the “only legal impediment” is for the judge “not to see the probable cause” against the senator.

Last year, drug kingpin Kerwin Espinosa admitted giving de Lima P8 million to support her senatorial bid in the May 2016 elections. The transactions happened in Baguio City and in Pasay City.

De Lima is also being probed in connection with the complaints filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, over alleged conspiracy to allow the drug trade inside the NBP.

Aguirre said the cases to be referred to the Office of the Ombudsman will be those in relation to her stint as Justice secretary in the previous administration, in which capacity she had jurisdiction over the national penitentiary.

“The Ombudsman cases will be cases with graft and corruption that will be cognizable with the Sandiganbayan. In other words, if the cases against her are cognizable with the Sandiganbayan, then a preliminary investigation should be conducted by the Ombudsman,” Aguirre said.

It is up to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to adopt any DOJ resolution to indict de Lima at the Sandiganbayan, or not to approve the case at all.

“And since we were the ones who have concurrent jurisdiction and since it is the Ombudsman which has the primary jurisdiction, then we have to forward this with the Ombudsman for further preliminary investigation unless they wanted to adopt the resolution of the DOJ,” Aguirre pointed out.

The DOJ panel probing de Lima is led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, with Senior Assistant City Prosecutors Alexander Ramos, Leila Llanes, Evangeline Viudez-Canobas and Assistant State Prosecutor Editha Fernandez as members.

‘Safe and secure place’

Senator de Lima on Tuesday expressed hope that she would be put in a safe and secure place in the event that she is arrested in connection with the drug trafficking complaints filed against her.

De Lima said her legal team was preparing for the possible issuance of an arrest warrant against her anytime soon.

“My only request in case that eventuality happened, God forbid, is that I will be placed in a safe and secure place. A lot of things have been happening, there were those being killed inside their cell. So what is another EJK (extra-judicial killing)?” de Lima told reporters.

The embattled senator, a leading critic of the President’s war on drugs, also said she will not resist in case the warrant is served on her.

“I cannot physically resist. I am morally and psychologically resisting it because I’m innocent absolutely, but physically I cannot resist. What can I do?” she added.

De Lima has pending petitions at the Court of Appeals on the first consolidated drug-related cases filed by the VACC, NBI and the two former officials as well as the second complaint linking her to Espinosa.

The senator said her lawyers have filed an urgent motion to resolve her application for a temporary restraining order, but the Court of Appeals has yet to act on it. A number of justices have inhibited from the case.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he would back de Lima’s wish to be detained in a safe place considering that there have been precedents.

Lacson was referring to former senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., who are detained at the custodial center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame over pork barrel misuse.

“If former senators were allowed to be detained in that facility, how much more a sitting senator,” Lacson added.

WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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20 Comments

  1. DE LIMA was never a good senator! That’s a complete BS when all evidence is already link to her! She has droves those addicts and criminals to kill innocent people like man, woman or even children! Wheres your grip? Men…..the heck with this yellowtards, too darn blinded assholes! We’re cleaning up this country and no one is indispensinble! Let De LIMA serves as a warning for those dirty politicians that were definitely serious in going after them! They will have their moments soon, after we have put this DeLima behind bars!

    • There were over 120 names of senators and house members on the Napoles list and only 3 opposition senators arrested.

      The Aquino government protected the rest and now the Duterte government is doing nothing about it as well.

      10 billion stolen by lawmakers and the government is doing nothing.

  2. If and when she is actually arrested, can it please be video-taped for posterity, but mute any sound coming from her mouth. The picture alone would give so much satisfaction to those who have been waiting a long time for the moment.

  3. I hope this is not a Facebook story. FB has this story for more than a month that DeLima is or will be arrested. Shr deserves to be arrested, but the public is waiting for this for a long time.

  4. No, not before the Ombudsman, not before Morales. Yellows stick together… Charge the Queen of Saba in a regular court of justice. Just make sure the judge is not another Yellow appointee.

  5. She is corrupt, she plundered, She did heinous actions / crime.. yet claims she was innocent..”crazy isn’t it? Thick-faced woman.

    “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., who are detained at the custodial center of the PNP is far away from her case. She should not treated equally to them, indirectly she already killed many youngsters by letting this Drug Pushers & Drug Lords.

    She need to pay. She need to experience like poor people how difficult in the normal prison is. ” No honor for this type of CHR or Senator (might be fake win also)”

  6. It is truly regrettable that no less than the Secretary of Justice has allowed himself to be used as an instrument for political persecution. Mr. SOJ we know you to be a good man, like President DU30 is. As lawyers, both of you know deep in your heart and soul that Senator De Lima, for all her sins and faults, does not deserve this kind of treatment.On the part of the good senator, she should also exercise some humility to say sorry to the president for that awful incident in Davao a long time ago. She should realize the futility of fighting an incumbent president.

    • Nobody is excused from crimes committed. If she is innocent, she proved that in the court of law. She is abusing her of being a senator. She abused her position when she the DOJ Sec., now she wants to being her position being a senator.

    • Nobody is excused from crimes committed.
      —————————————————————————–

      Apparently over 120 pork barrel thieves in congress are excused from the crimes they committed.

      20 senators on the Napoles list
      40 past and present senators on the COA list
      100 house reps on the Napoles list

      Only 3 opposition senators arrested from those lists

      Sure looks like most politicians are excused to me.

  7. While they are at it they should arrest the pork barrel thieves in congress that Aquino, De Lima and Morales protected from being charged.

    There are over 100 senators and house reps that are on the Napoles list that have not been charged or is the plan still to let them get away with stealing 10 billion ?

    • Does she take the Filipino people as fools? Still spewing that she is innocent. B***SH*T! For how many years she had the top job yet she doesn’t know about the drug trade going on within the prison walls?? If that’s the case then she either wasn’t doing her job. She’s better of admitting as everyone knows it, she was part of the drug trade to begin with hence it went on for so many years. It would help the country a great deal if she and lots of other politicians like her would simply tell the truth – not for their own benefit but for the benefit of the country. De Lima has no moral compass and deserve to rot in prison forever.

    • my thoughts exactly!!! these thieves SHOULD NOT be allowed to go on and get away with their high crimes against the nation. That would be such hypocrisy and an insult to Filipinos and our governance…or what’s left of it.

    • wait until napoles gets acquited from illegal detention case. lalabas lahat ng baho ng PDAF. The problem is, they have put napoles behind bars so she will lose her credibility from telling all about PDAF.

      only jingoy and bong are convicted..
      “HELL NO!” MANAGOT LAHAT NG KUMAMKAM NG PDAF!!!! SABI ni DU30…

  8. In my opinion , an innocent person accused of a crime he/she did not commit would like A SPEEDY TRIAL …
    Why does the good Senator Leila de Lima seeking Temporary Restraining Order from the Court of Appeals ?
    She claimed to be innocent … does she not want to be freed from all the charges against her the soonest possible time ?

    An innocent person does not care whatever legitimate Court his/her case be heard … is it not ?
    Or, is she being hounded by what she did to former President Gloria M. Arroyo ?

    • You must think there is a thing such as a speedy trial in the Philippines, There is not,

      The average time for a trial is 6 or more years and if the government hold someone without bond they sit for years waiting.

      Many detainees have been in jail longer than the maximum sentence for the offense with which they were charged, with some people spending as long as 14 years in detention before being convicted or released by the courts.

      The justice system in the Philippines is a joke.