Arrest warrant vs De Lima out

A Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) has issued the arrest warrant of the embattled Senator Leila de Lima.

The arrest warrant issues by Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 stemmed from De Lima’s alleged involvement in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) illegal drug trade.

RTC Branch 204 Presiding Judge Juanita Guerrero signed the arrest warrant against De Lima.

With the impending arrest of Senator De Lima, she may no longer be able to attend 15th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland on March 18. De Lima was hoping to see United Nations Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions Dr. Agnes Callamard.

De Lima is invited to the international event dedicated to cinema and human rights at the sideline of the Annual Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

“Your tireless advocacy of the respect of fundamental rights in your country has earned you the unanimous respect and admiration of the human rights community around the world,” General Director Isabelle Gattiker said.

“We could not think of a most qualified and distinguished person to participate in this event in Geneva, the human rights capital.”
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre was reportedly expecting the issuance of the arrest warrant against De Lima. “I am expecting it because we have filed a strong case against the Secretary-Senator and in her defense, she did not file a counter affidavit,” according to Aguirre.

“Any of the police agencies—the Philippine National Police, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, or even the National Bureau of Investigation could arrest the senator,” Aquirre said.

“But I prefer that the service of the warrant of arrest be done not by the NBI,” said Aguirre.

Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted De Lima for violating sections 5 and 22 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act pertaining to the sale, administration, dispensation, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs.

Complaints filed by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, and Bilibid inmate Jaybee Sebastian alleged that De Lima directed high-profile Bilibid inmates to distribute huge volumes of shabu to help fund her 2016 senatorial bid.

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