A Regional Trial Court (RTC) this Thursday, February 23 issued an arrest warrant versus Senator Leila de Lima for her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). The said warrant of arrest against her was issued by Presiding Judge Juanita Guerrero of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204.
“After a careful evaluation of the herein Information and all the evidence presented during the preliminary investigation conducted in this case by the Department of Justice, Manila, the Court finds sufficient probable cause for the issuance of Warrants of Arrest against Leila M. de Lima, Rafael Marcos Z. Ragos and Ronnie Palisoc Dayan.” The court said.
The said court judge decided a week after the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed three cases against Sen. De Lima and seven others for violating Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Dayan was the driver-bodyguard and lover of De Lima when she was still the DOJ secretary. The cases were filed last Friday, February 17.
Must Read: * Sen Leila De Lima Arrested, Netizens Rejoice, LP Senators Afraid She Might Get Killed Inside Jail
Earlier, DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said that the court might release its decision beyond 5pm, Thursday, and that the arrest warrant is inevitable. He added he prefers that Sen. De Lima not be arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), but rather by the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
Meanwhile, De Lima’s lawyer, Alex Padilla, said that they have already filed a motion to quash with the court but still to be heard. He suggested that the issuance of the arrest warrant is very suspicious, especially that the the person involved is a senator, and that the case is high profile, noting that the court judge could have made a pre-judgement.
Arrest Warrant vs Sen Leila de Lima; Credit: Inquirer
On the other hand, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has already confirmed the issuance of the warrant against De Lima. Nevertheless, he emphasized that the senator could not be arrested inside the Senate premises, adding that De Lima is not suspended from office, and will still be treated as a senator of the Philippines.
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