After arrest, De Lima to seek relief from Supreme Court

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2017 12:15 PM

Senator Leila De Lima leaves her office at the Senate after she was arrested on drug charges in Manila, Philippines February 24, 2017. Reuters

MANILA - The Camp of Senator Leila de Lima is preparing to assail her warrant of arrest before the Supreme Court, citing grave abuse of discretion.

Boni Tacardon, De Lima's counsel, said they will question the arrest warrant before the high court.

"Legal team is preparing a petition questioning the warrant. Hindi ko pa alam status pero we will definitely go up to the SC on this issue. I think they are raising grave abuse of discretion," Tacardon said.

De Lima, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, was arrested Friday after charges were filed in court alleging she received money from drug dealers inside the country's prisons to fund her Senatorial campaign. She will be detained the Camp Crame's Custodial Center.

Another warrant of arrest for De lima won't be likely anytime soon after the issuance of the first one Thursday, said Tacardon.
 
Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 Judge Amelia Fabros Corpuz didn't seem inclined to issue one for the illegal drugs case against de Lima that was raffled off to her sala after she took judicial notice of the warrant of arrest that was issued and served to de Lima by branch 204 for a separate illegal drugs case, added Tacardon.

A third illegal drugs case was lodged in Branch 206. All three cases stem from the various testimonies given by different inmates at the state penitentiary in the House probe on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prisons when de Lima was justice secretary.

Corpuz granted the prosecution's motion to reset Friday's hearing on the motion to quash. The prosecution wanted a continuance for March 3, but the judge reset the hearing to March 10 to give the prosecution 10 days to comment on the motion to quash, and another ten days for the defense to reply to the comment of the prosecution.

Tacardon said there was no corpus delicti or clear basis for the case based on the information filed in the case in Branch 205, filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, represented by Atty. Ferdie Topacio. The Branch 205 case was meanwhile based on the testimony of Peter Co.

Tacardon explained they are questioning the jurisdiction of branches 204 and 206, while for the case before Branch 205, they sought judicial determination of probable cause.

Topacio meantime slammed the defense for assailing the issuance of a warrant of arrest.

"Karapatan po naman nila yun di ko lang po masyado matanggap ay yung sasabihin nila yung 204 ay nagmagic, masyadong mabilis daw alam niyo po ginawa lang po ng hukuman yung katungkulan niya sapagkat under rule 112 of the rules of court ay may 10 araw lang po from filing ang hukuman para magdecide kung may probable cause or not para magissue ng warrant of arrest si tama lang po yung proseso," said Topacio.

Topacio also blamed de lima for the warrant, pointing out she did not present evidence in her favor during the preliminary investigation.

"Papaano naman hindi magiging mabilis walang ebidensiya in favor of Senator de Lima na isinumite. In her arrogance, she was confident she can get a TRO [Temporary Restraining Order] from the Court of Appeals," said Topacio.