De Lima could seek asylum, VACC warns

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ANTI-crime advocates on Saturday expressed outrage over the travel clearance issued to Sen. Leila de Lima, claiming the lawmaker, who is accused of pocketing money from drug syndicates, could seek asylum to escape prosecution.

Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to block de Lima’s plan to travel to the United States and Germany this week.

“We suspect she will either seek asylum or hide for allegedly being ‘persecuted’ … We victims of illegal drug trafficking urge her to clear her name first from these charges before going out of the country,” Jimenez told The Manila Times.

VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez

VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez

The Justice department gave de Lima the go signal to travel to the United States to accept an award and to Germany to speak before the Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy. The Philippines has an extradition treaty with the US, but not with Germany.


In a statement, de Lima said there was “nothing to worry about as I will surely return, along with my staff who will be with me during these foreign visits.”

“I hope my brief absence would provide a welcome relief and respite to my detractors and critics. I will keep them in mind though,” she said.

The lawmaker, who had been accused by prison inmates of accepting protection money when she was secretary of Justice in the previous administration, said the US and Germany trips were “very important to me because as a senator, I will have a chance to speak before influential world leaders and global thinkers on raising awareness and support for human rights, an advocacy I am passionate about.”

“This is a great opportunity to meet leaders from various fields from around the world and learn from their respective government’s initiatives and challenges about cultural diplomacy,” she added.

Bar the doors
But Jimenez urged authorities to guard all exit doors.

Senator Leila de Lima

Senator Leila de Lima

“VACC condemns allowing de Lima to leave because of various complaints under investigation like illegal drug trading in violation of [the Dangerous Drugs Act]and for snubbing various hearings of House of Representatives and the Department of Justice,” Jimenez said.

It was the VACC that filed drug trafficking complaints with the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman against de Lima and seven other personalities allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.

The seven others were former Justice undersecretary Francisco Baraan 3rd, former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu, de Lima’s former security aides Ronnie Dayan, Joenel Sanchez and Jose Adrian Dera, Bucayu’s alleged bagman Wilfredo Ely, and high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian.

VACC had also filed a disbarment case against de Lima before the Supreme Court.

De Lima earlier said she had no plans to leave the country after the Justice department issued an immigration lookout bulletin order on her and her alleged cohorts in October.

Palace hands off
Malacañang took a hands-off stance on de Lima’s travel plans on Saturday.

In a radio interview, Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said the Palace would leave Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd to answer questions about de Lima.

“Well, we have to ask DOJ Secretary Aguirre because they do have jurisdiction over the case filed against Secretary de Lima,” Banaag told government-run radio station DZRB.

WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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16 Comments

  1. Maybe ka Dante jimenez is next in line to the sc or sandigan justice vacancy next to pao Acosta…

  2. vagoneto rieles on

    It looks a lot like this is not about Delima who’s been dragged over the coals just days ago but is now the beneficiary of a ‘bone-headed decision from her tormentors. This couldn’t be about Dante Jimenez either, who with his VCC, is merely a sideshow trying to gain some relevance through an advocacy that hasn’t really worked since its inception.
    This issue, and the responsibility therefore, should be laid at the doorsteps of the Senate President, the Speaker of the House; the Secretary of Justice; the Ombudsman; and, finally…where ‘the buck stops’…the President.
    US President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk stating that “the Buck Stops Here”. Throughout his presidency he assumed responsibility for all matters that took place then…including Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the sacking of the legendary General Douglas McArthur.
    We do have a lot to learn about leadership; or, perhaps…we simply have bad habits we need to ‘unlearn’.

  3. The comments from the above critics are correct. Don’t let De Lima leave the country. Don’t let the months and weeks of investigations and evidences presented go to waste. How come charges have not been filed against her?

  4. Lapu Lapu ABonifacio on

    The elite ruling class are truly untouchables, the common people best hope for justice and equality are being mocked. Lip service by the so called crusaders for the common people excacerbates the hopelessness – sadly, the light at the end of the tunnel is nothing but a Pipe dream.

  5. Mr. Jimenez is right, of course. There’s no need to travel. Germany does not need de Lima’s opinions at all.
    Indeed I cannot think of any idea of her’s I would be interested in.
    But there’s a lot of reason putting her to trial in court.
    Afterwards she might be free to travel – or not.

  6. It might be that the Duterte administration is and was lying all along about De Lima. Why would anybody in their right mind would allow this individual to leave the country if they have some sort of evidence against her. The government doesn’t have the “goods” on her so they’re just too happy to let her go so she will be out of Aguirre’s hair.

    • DIO SAN PEDRO
      with SC TRO,Gloria was pulled from airport and jail w/o a warrant by delima, impossible but it happened during pnoy. DIO u are right ,why she get away maybe no case…

  7. It only shows that DOJ got no hard evidence and balls to pin down De lima. The sad part is Sec. Aguirre kept on saying that she is finished. Finish of what?

  8. jose b taganahan on

    The idiot and publicity seeking Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to block de Lima’s plan to travel to the United States and Germany this week even if there is not a single criminal case filed against sex maniac Sen. de Lima. Dante Jiminez, who has never sent to jail a single person for any crime including corruption must be ignorant of the fact that in a Democracy only a court order can stop a person from leaving his/her country if he/she is not accused yet of any crime before a court of law.Even the Secretary of Justice with a fake hair knows this.

  9. She should be blocked at the airport the same way she imposed her will when she blocked GMA at the airport in 2011 despite lifting legal impediment for her travel. Let her suffer the same humiliation GMA suffered. The people had have enough of her.

  10. What is going on in our country? It’s seems that the govt. can’t do to much to file a case against. All along sec Aguirre was saying that he got all the evidence to convict De Lima, that he won’t need Dayan and Espinosa to bolster the case. Now they will let her go overseas,knowing that she could seek asylum in Germany. Look at Baraan , he is hiding now in the states, despite assurance that he will be back to face the case. I remember this evil senator hold the departure of then president GMA to go for medical check up in the states, at that time there was no charges filed again her. The next day she was charge w/o even a preliminary investigation. Don’t let this evil woman go, she could do more harm to the country by speaking lies overseas, she is just few months as a senator, she already brought havoc to the senate . Charge her now. Is Aguirre afraid of her? Look at what she done to the young addicts of the country as a contributing drug protector. Lock her up now before this evil woman can do more harm. Save the country !

  11. Accept a humanitarian award? cultural diplomacy?Jesus Christ! whats is the world gone into?
    The countless victims of this drug menace must be rolling in their graves!

  12. You must be as clever as the serpent and as meek as the lamb, so Dante Jimenez is right, me myself would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to block De Lima’s plan to travel to the United States and Germany. She has failed in so many ways and had not shown any good faith. With that magnitude of allegations De Lima is facing, very surely she will never make good in any of her singe thing of her promises.