She’s the poster girl of the Duterte administration’s campaign against narco-politics.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez declared yesterday that the administration of President Duterte has made its mark in combatting the proliferation of illegal drugs, citing as an example the incarceration of Sen. Leila de Lima.
“Let us not believe in the claim that only the small players are targeted in the war on drugs. In fact, the number one, public enemy number one, the number one drug lord in the whole Philippines – Senator De Lima – is already jailed,” he said.
De Lima yesterday
refused to enter a plea on charges of “disobedience to summons” filed against her by House leaders, citing the lack of jurisdiction of the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) over the case.
De Lima was taken out of detention at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City, boarded a white police coaster and left around 1:29 p.m. to undergo arraignment at 2 p.m. before the QC MeTC Branch 34 for alleged violation of Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code or “disobedience to summons.”
The charges were filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and House committee on justice chairman Reynaldo Umali.
The neophyte senator, currently behind bars for non-bailable drug charges, had a plea of not guilty entered for her by Judge Ma. Ludmila de Pio Lim as per standard procedure, according to Fhillip Sawali, chief-of-staff of the senator.
De Lima refused to recognize the authority of the MeTC over the case, as the complaint should have been investigated by the ombudsman and heard by the Sandiganbayan.
The case stemmed from the complaint of House leaders accusing De Lima of instructing her former driver-bodyguard and lover Ronnie Dayan to ignore the summons of the House committee on justice.
The committee was then investigating the alleged proliferation of the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) while De Lima was justice secretary.
Sawali refuted these claims and said that De Lima only gave advice to Dayan to discourage him from attending the House hearing and that he was not under intimidation by the senator.
De Lima earlier admitted to “advising” Dayan to hide, but she did not order him to skip the hearings.
She may be imprisoned for up to six months if the court finds her guilty.
Aside from the police coaster, five other police vehicles were part of the convoy of De Lima with an undetermined number of police officers wearing complete uniform. De Lima’s group was back at Camp Crame around 2:59 p.m.
The court has set the next hearing for April 26, with Alvarez expected to take the witness stand.
The camp of De Lima encouraged her supporters to “not be afraid and continue the fight,” as she claimed her innocence against all cases filed against her, especially on the drug charges.
“Sabi niya, tuloy ang laban. Sabi niya, ‘wag matakot. Sabi niya, naniniwala tayong lahat sa kanyang innocence at walang kasalanan, lalo na patungkol sa tumanggap daw siya ng pera, nakaw o galing sa droga na hindi totoo (She said, on with the fight, no room for fear, we all believe in her innocence and not being at fault, especially those pertaining to her allegedly receiving drug money, which is not true),” Sawali told reporters.
The Supreme Court is expected today to hear the oral arguments for De Lima’s petition to stop the proceedings in the drug cases against her and the arrest warrant that the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204 issued against her late last month.
Alvarez categorically brushed aside De Lima’s claim that she is a victim of “political persecution,” insisting that the former justice secretary committed a crime by protecting and allowing the drug menace to flourish.
“Now, we can all see that she continues with her lies and is still posturing as if there is political persecution – this is wrong. She committed a crime which is involving illegal drugs. It is a crime and that is clear,” he said.
“It is also clear that she is a criminal. She is not a victim of political persecution because there is no such thing. It is not happening under the President’s leadership,” Alvarez insisted.
More respectful, less judgmental
Meanwhile, senators hit back at De Lima, who had questioned some of her colleagues’ “sense of right and wrong” in not holding President Duterte accountable for the drug-related extrajudicial killings.
“I don’t know with some of my colleagues in the Senate but it’s not OK with me that we have a murderous psychopath occupying the highest post in the land,” De Lima said in a handwritten statement issued from her detention cell at the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame.
“Where is their fundamental sense of right and wrong?” De Lima said.
Her statement was apparently not taken well by her colleagues, particularly those who spearheaded inquiries into the extrajudicial killings but believed there was nothing to link the incidents to Duterte.
“She should instead ask herself that question,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson retorted in his Twitter account.
De Lima should have been more respectful and less judgmental of her colleagues, according to Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, who also said that under Senate rules, senators are not supposed to “attack or criticize” each other.
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SOURCE: YOUTUBE, PHILSTAR