MANILA - Senator Leila De Lima is ready to face the drug trafficking charges filed against her by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) Tuesday.
"This is most welcome. Instead of stoning me in a House inquiry, they should start filing cases in the proper venue," De Lima said in a statement.
But De Lima slammed the complainants for filing the case before the Department of Justice, instead of the Office of the Ombudsman.
"The lawyers of VACC and Atty. Topacio should know that such a case against me for acts done while [I was] Secretary of Justice should be filed with the Ombudsman, not the DOJ," she said.
"Although the DOJ may initially take cognizance, this case against me would eventually only be filed by the DOJ with the Ombudsman for another round of fact-finding investigation," De Lima said, noting that the complainants are "wasting time."
De Lima also challenged her critics to "file [cases] directly with the Ombudsman, which is the proper agency with jurisdiction, instead of the DOJ" which she considered as the domain of Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, whom she labelled as "the master of fakery."
De Lima and seven others were slapped with a complaint for illegal drug trading and trafficking, violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Complainant Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, through its president Dante Jimenez, filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) a complaint for the "sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals," punishable under section 5 of the law; and "attempt or conspiracy in the "sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical," punishable under section 26.