SENATOR Leila de Lima vowed to continue speaking out against the Duterte administration as she turned
herself in to authorities Friday morning, a day after a Muntinlupa court issued her a warrant of arrest for drug trafficking charges filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
De Lima, who spent Thursday night at her Senate office to force arresting officers to delay serving the warrant and allow her to enjoy a few hours of freedom, said it was an honor to be jailed for what she was fighting for, and asked the public for prayers.
“I have faith in God that I can surpass all this and in the end truth and justice will prevail,” she told reporters.
Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204 also ordered the arrest of de Lima’s former bodyguard and driver Ronnie Dayan and former Bureau of Corrections officer in charge Rafael Ragos.
The DOJ charged de Lima, Dayan and Ragos for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
De Lima maintained her innocence and insisted that she never accepted drug money or coddled or protected drug suspects when she was Justice secretary in the previous administration.
De Lima said she got a call from former president Benigno Aquino 3rd who asked about her plight.
“These are all lies and I’m confident that truth will come out in the right time,” said the senator before turning herself over to operatives of Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
In a statement sent to reporters, de Lima hit the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, calling it a “power-hungry, morally bankrupt and abusive” government.
She also lashed out at Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd for filing cases against her using “manufactured stories.”
“Where else in the world have you seen drug lords turned into state witnesses? All they have ever done is to follow the badly written script of this administration to pin me down with baseless accusations for their personal gain,” she said.
“I am innocent. I have never betrayed and I will never betray the trust of my country and the Filipino people,” de Lima said.
No handcuffs, vest
At the PNP-CIDG offices in Camp Crame, de Lima underwent a medical examination, was booked, fingerprinted and had her mug shot taken after her arrival at the camp at 8:45 a.m.
Prior to her booking, the senator was served breakfast at the office of CIDG Director Roel Obusan.
PNP spokesman Supt. Dionardo Carlos described de Lima as “very cooperative” in the booking, which hastened the process.
Unlike high-profile criminals arrested by the police in the past, the heavily guarded de Lima was not in handcuffs and did not wear a bullet-proof vest.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, who was among those who accompanied de Lima to Camp Crame, said the senator’s blood pressure was elevated when she was undergoing the booking process. But it normalized later, said Carlos.
After the booking process, the senator was taken to the Muntinlupa court aboard a white van for the return of
her warrant of arrest and her presentation to Judge Guerrero.
In a commitment order, the Muntinlupa court ordered the senator detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, one of the safest jail facilities in the country adjacent to another highly fortified structure, the office of the PNP Intelligence Group.
The detention center has a basketball court where inmates can jog, various living quarters, and comfort rooms. When top PNP officials were detained there, they built a makeshift kitchen.
There are no metal bars, only thick chicken wires leading to the inmates’ quarters. It also has adequate receiving areas for visitors.
No mingling with Bong, Jinggoy
A Camp Crame source said de Lima was to be detained at the back portion of the facility apart from the
“quarters” of former senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada who are also detained in the
facility in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel scam.
The door that leads to the basketball court beside the former senators’ detention cells will be shut and “sealed.”
“They will not see each other,” the source said.
Carlos said the family of de Lima can visit her during regular visiting hours while “others” have to write a request to the PNP chief.
Asked if de Lima would be allowed to perform her functions as a senator, Carlos said it would depend on the decision of the court.
The PNP said there would be no special treatment for the senator. But she will have female guards.