THE Department of Justice (DOJ) will start its probe into Sen. Leila de Lima’s links to the illegal drug trade on Friday.
The DOJ panel of prosecutors will meet for its first preliminary investigation after serving a subpoena to de Lima and two of her staff members.
Aside from the senator, asked to appear before the DOJ and rebut the charges were de Lima’s staff members Lyn Sagum and Jose Adrian Dera.
As a practice in preliminary investigations, however, respondents can ask for more time to submit their respective counter-affidavits. They are also entitled to examine all evidence submitted by complainants and submit contrary evidence.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd said failure by de Lima to appear would mean a waiver of her rights to present evidence.
The complaints against de Lima were filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the two former NBI men, Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala.
De Lima and the other respondents were specifically charged with violation of Section 5 (sale and trading of illegal drugs) in relation to Section 26 (b) (conspiracy) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Among those named in the complaint were de Lima’s former boyfriend and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan, former DOJ undersecretary Francisco Baraan 3rd, Presidential Security Group member Joenel Sanchez and high-profile convict Jaybee Sebastian.
Department Order No. 706 dated October 14 and signed by Aguirre named Senior
Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong as panel head.
Named as members of the panel were Senior Assistant City Prosecutors Alexander Ramos, Leila Llanes, Evangeline Viudez-Canobas and Assistant State Prosecutor Editha Fernandez.