MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima dodged arrest Thursday night after the Senate Sergeant-at-arms reached an agreement with the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to postpone the arrest until 10 a.m. Friday.
The CIDG has been tasked to effect De Lima's arrest.
De Lima decided to go home at around 7:30 pm after receiving assurance from Senate President Koko Pimentel and DILG Secretary Mike Sueno that no arrest will be made Thursday night.
De Lima's convoy reached South Bay Village in Paranaque at 8pm.
But shortly before 10 p.m., journalists camped outside the subdivision saw a convoy -- the same convoy that brought de Lima home -- going out of the subdivision. Journalists who followed the convoy were led back to the Senate.
At a short media briefing at past 10pm, de Lima explained why she had to return to the Senate. She said her team learned that the CIDG had been preparing for her arrest, contrary to the earlier arrangement.
She said she opted to stay at the Senate because she didn't want her family to see her arrested.
She said she wanted to spend the entire night at the Senate because she didn't feel safe being arrested at night.
"Napilitan po akong umalis agad sa bahay dahil nga po nabalitaan ko na on the way na po 'yung arresting team. Labag po ito sa unang naging arrangement na dapat nga po...'yung unang arrangement po ay sa bahay muna ako magdamag to be with my family," she said.
De Lima revealed it was PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa who ordered her arrest Thursday evening, despite contrary orders from his superior, DILG Secretary Sueno. De Lima hinted someone higher in rank ordered dela Rosa to effect the arrest.
The senator lamented that, as a result, she did not get to see all of her sons. But she vowed she will not evade arrest.
"Hindi naman nga ako tatakas, ready naman akong arestuhin, pero huwag lang sana ngayong gabi. So I'll just stay here sa Senado and wait for the sun to rise bago po ako humarap sa kanila," she explained.
Speaking to ANC on Friday, De Lima said she has already prepared herself for her detainment.
“I’m okay. As I’ve said already I’ve prepared myself psychologically for this scenario. I knew that this was something that is not impossible,” she said in a phone interview.
“I could not imagine myself to be in this situation that I am now an accused. Can you imagine a former secretary of justice and now turned an accused based on false charges,” she said.
De Lima revealed that even though she already talked to her siblings last week, her family is still hurting over her situation.
“I could quite feel the hurt and pain of my family. They know that I am innocent,” she said.
De Lima said her eldest child, Israel, who has a special condition was able to accompany her at the Senate for a couple of hours on Thursday night.
She however was not able to see her younger son Vincent because the latter was still in law school for an exam.
In an interview with ANC Thursday night, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Gen. Jose Balajadia said he will personally escort and turn over the senator to the CIDG arresting officers but personnel from the Office of Sergeant-at-Arms will accompany de Lima 24 hours a day.
De Lima surrendered to the CIDG on Friday morning.