SC affirms junking of De Lima plea vs. arrest on drug raps

MANILA The Supreme Court (SC) denied with finality Senator Leila de Lima's petition to void the arrest warrant issued in connection with the illegal drugs complaint filed against her.

Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration (of the Decision dated October 10, 2017), dated November 3, 2017 filed by counsel for petitioner Leila M. de Lima, the Court Resolved, by the same vote with the exception of the Chief Justice who is on leave, to deny with finality the said motion for reconsideration as the basic issues raised therein have been passed upon by this Court and no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned Decision, the high court said in a decision dated April 17 but was released to media on Wednesday.

No further pleadings or motions will be entertained, it added.

With the ruling, de Lima, who is facing charges on illegal drugs, will remain in detention at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame since Feb. 24, 2017.

In her 24-page motion for consideration (MR), de Lima said that majority of the SC members cannot even agree on the nature and cause of the accusation against her.

The absence of a majority on the nature of the charges against Petitioner is the clearest possible indicator coming from the Supreme Court itself that the accusation is blatantly a pure invention and a fake charge to borrow from Justice (Antonio) Carpio. This is an institutional admission of the gravest consequence," de Lima's motion read.

If the members of the majority could not even agree on the nature of the accusation reflected in the Information, such fact is an objective indicator that respondent judge could not possibly have had probable cause to issue the warrant of arrest against Petitioner," she added.

Last Oct.10, the SC, voting 9-6, junked de Lima's petition to nullify the arrest warrant issued against her by Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 for illegal drug trade allegedly committed when she was justice secretary.

Those who voted to junk de Lima's petition were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr, Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes and Alexander Gesmundo.

Velasco wrote the decision which was concurred in by the majority of the justices.

Separate cases for three counts of drug trafficking were filed against de Lima, which accused her of receiving millions from illegal drug trade in the NBP before the Muntinlupa RTC which were assigned to three different courts.

The first count in Branch 204 also included de Lima's former driver and alleged lover Ronnie Dayan, who is now detained at the Muntinlupa City Jail.

On the other hand, de Lima is joined by her nephew Jose Adrian Dera in the second count in Branch 205.

Lastly, the third count in Branch 206 included former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu, his alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli, high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian, de Lima's former bodyguard Jonel Sanchez, Dayan and Dera, also as accused. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency