De Lima arrives in court for arraignment on summons snub case

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2017 01:53 PM | Updated as of Mar 13 2017 03:09 PM

MANILA - Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Monday arrived at the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) Branch 34 for her arraignment on her disobedience to summons case.

Upon her arrival at the court, De Lima was welcomed by her supporters who were shouting, "free Leila!"

The complaint stemmed from the claim of Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s former driver-bodyguard and former lover, that the senator urged him to go into hiding to avoid the House inquiry on the alleged narcotics trade inside the state penitentiary.

De Lima's advice to Dayan was a form of disrespect to the subpoena issued by the House, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and House Justice Committee Chair Reynaldo Umali said in their complaint.

Also included in the complaint were the exchange of text messages between De Lima and Dayan's daughter, Hanna Mae, who was communicating with the senator while Dayan was in hiding.

Under the Revised Penal Code, "any person who, having been duly summoned to attend as a witness before the National Assembly, (Congress)... (who) refuses, without legal excuse, to obey such summons" may be slapped with fines ranging from P200 to P1,000 or imprisonment of up to six months.

Under the law, "the same penalty shall be imposed upon any person who shall restrain another from attending as a witness, or who shall induce disobedience to a summon or refusal to be sworn by any such body or official."

House leaders have also filed an ethics complaint against De Lima at the Senate.

De Lima is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial on separate drug charges. She has branded the drug cases against her as political persecution.