MANILA - The Department of Justice is confident that the Supreme Court (SC) will not grant detained Senator Leila De Lima's plea for the nullification of her arrest warrant on drug charges in connection with the New Bilibid Prison illegal drug trade.
"Nil! No chance! The arrest is perfectly legal!" Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said, in a text message.
De Lima was arrested on Friday on the strength of an arrest warrant issued by Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge and Branch 24 Presiding Judge Juanita Guerrero. She is now detained at the custodial center of the national police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. [ARRESTED: http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/02/24/17/philippine-law-enforcers-arrest-duterte-critic-on-drug-charges]
In a petition filed before the high court on Monday, her camp assailed the arrest warrant, insisting that she has a pending motion that has yet to be resolved by the trial court, which questions the jurisdiction of the RTC over her cases.
Aguirre, however, pointed out that aside from a string of rulings that favor the DOJ's position, no less than De Lima herself was instrumental in the filing of criminal informations before the trial court, not the Ombudsman nor Sandiganbayan, against former President Gloria Arroyo and several others in connection with alleged massive fraud in the 2004 and 2007 elections.
"It has been settled many years and cases ago. I don't know why they refuse to understand. Even De Lima filed cases vs GMA, Abalos, Benipayo, before the RTC," Aguirre said.
The trial court has yet to rule on De Lima's motion questioning its jurisdiction over the case.
Aside from Branch 204, De Lima was also indicted for drug offenses before Branch 205 and Branch 206.