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Lacson says she could be detained besides ex-senators Revilla, Estrada

(Photo from Leila De Lima's official Facebook page)


PASAY CITY (PhilAmPress) — Senator Leila de Lima is bracing herself for the imminent possibility of being arrested in case the Department of Justice (DOJ) releases a resolution finding probable cause to her drug-related cases.


The lady senator maintained what she earlier disclosed that the DOJ is railroading the filing of cases to get the court to issue a warrant of arrest against her.


Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II, however, refuted Sen.  De Lima's remarks stating that the DOJ is speeding up the issuance of a warrant of arrest against her in relation to her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.


”The claim of Senator De Lima is totally erroneous. As a lawyer and as a former Secretary of Justice, she should know that the DOJ does not issue warrants of arrest. Consequently, it is totally irresponsible of her to announce that the DOJ is expediting the issuance of such warrants. That is a blatant lie and a total misinformation. Senator De Lima’s motivation for saying such is beyond us,” Aguirre said in response on the accusations of De Lima.


De Lima made the statement after Aguirre said that the neophyte senator could be arrested “anytime soon.”


“Well, I really don’t know when an arrest warrant will be issued. But Sec. Aguirre has confirmed that the resolution (for the warrant of arrest) would be released very, very soon. And then he had statements like ‘she should better brace herself for an arrest,’” De Lima said.


De Lima, an outspoken critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, said the President himself admitted that he was determined to let her suffer the same fate as former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was jailed for plunder charges.


Aguirre said that De Lima’s statement implies that the DOJ has control or influence in courts.


“I’ve been preparing for the worst case scenario kasi katuparan lang iyan ng matagal nang utos ng Pangulo. Hindi ho ba ilang beses na po niya iyan na sinasabi that he wants me locked up in jail to suffer the fate of the former president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo?” said Sen. De Lima


(I’ve been preparing for the worst case scenario because it’s the realization of the President’s longtime order. Has he not said so many times before that he wants me locked up in jail to suffer the fate of the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo?)


Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon explained that under the law De Lima can only be arrested if the cases are punishable by more than six years.


But based on tradition, she cannot be arrested inside the Senate grounds, Drilon said. This means, De Lima can be arrested outside the Senate.


“By tradition we will oppose the service of warrant of arrest inside the session hall. The sanctity of the session hall must be respected,” said Drilon.


Majority Floor Leader Sen. Vicente Sotto, chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, said Sen De Lima’s drug cases will not affect the resolution of the four complaints filed before his committee.


In fact, Sotto hopes to resolve them before this month ends.


“Ito’ng (this) ethics committee we will review it already, we will look into the propriety, or whether there is propriety in the conduct of being a senator, then we will decide soon enough,” said Sotto.


Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre slams De Lima for allegedly making irresponsible statements alleging that DOJ is fast racking her case.


Aguirre says the DOJ is not issuing any arrest warrant against the senator.


He adds De Lima is trying to make it appear that the DOJ is controlling or influencing the courts, which he says, is not true.


De Lima, on the other hand, is now preparing charges of subornation of perjury and tampering of witness to be filed against Aguirre before the ombudsman.


This is in relation to Aguirre’s alleged orders to restore the disallowed privileges of Bilibid inmates in exchange for their testimony against De Lima.

As this developed, Sen. Panfilo Lacson  raised the possibility that Sen. de Lima, who is facing possible arrest, could be placed in the same facility in Camp Crame as detained senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.


Lacson made this remark in response to De Lima’s request that she be detained in a “safe and secure area” if her warrant of arrest would be served.


“Ang irony, baka magkakatabi sila ni Sen. Bong at Jinggoy. Remember meron pang bakanteng bungalow roon. I’m just thinking aloud na baka doon siya ilagay dahil secure ang lugar. Yun naman ang hinihingi niya di ba? (The irony is, she might be placed in a facility beside Sen. Bong and Jinggoy. Remember there is still a vacant bungalow there. I’m just thinking aloud that she could be placed there because it’s a secure place. That’s what she’s asking, right?),” Lacson told reporters in an interview.


Lacson said that he was merely “assuming” and not “anticipating” anything since the resolution from the Department of Justice (DOJ) versus De Lima has yet to be issued.


He said that it is a paradox how De Lima was the primary reason why senators Revilla and Estrada were detained for plunder over the pork barrel scam because she, as then Justice Secretary, was crucial in the probe into the scam.


Asked if he had plans of visiting his colleague if she should be detained, Lacson quipped saying that he would visit her if it is not traffic.


He said that there is no certainty that De Lima would go to jail yet since she has also filed petitions in the Court of Appeals (CA) questioning the jurisdiction of her case.


De Lima insisted that only the Ombudsman has jurisdiction to investigate her case, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) believed that regular courts also has jurisdiction on some cases.


Lacson said that De Lima could also be detained in the Senate if the court and the consensus of senators would allow it, however, it has never been done in the past. (Alfred Gabot/Claire Morales True/PhilAmPress)




Thelma Cruz
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