‘Senate can’t stop De Lima’s arrest’
THE Senate may not stop the serving of an arrest warrant against Senator Leila de Lima as the offense she faces is not covered by the immunity granted to the members of Congress,” Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon told reporters on Monday.
“That’s quite unfortunate but if that happens, we will see to it that the rule of law is followed,” Drilon said.
He said the law only goes as far as ensuring that the arrest warrant is not served inside the Senate session hall.
“Theoretically, it [the arrest warrant] can be served because it is an alleged offense where the penalty is beyond six years, but we will object to any service of the warrant in the session hall,” said Drilon, a party mate of De Lima in the Liberal Party.
De Lima is accused of violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act which imposes the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P50,000 to P10 million.
Drilon made his statement even as Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday described as “totally irresponsible” Senator Leila de Lima’s claim that the Department of Justice is rushing the issuance of an arrest warrant against her.
De Lima earlier claimed that the government was already moving to arrest her, but Aguirre disagreed.
“The claim of Senator De Lima is totally erroneous. As a lawyer and as a former secretary of Justice she should know that the DoJ does not issue warrants of arrest,” Aguirre said.
De Lima’s former driver and lover on Monday asked the Department of Justice to give him more time to submit his counter-affidavit on the complaint filed by the House of Representatives after he defied their summons to attend its inquiry last year on the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison.
Ronnie Dayan asked the department to give him until Feb. 22 to submit his counter-affidavit.
Aguirre on Monday ordered an investigation into the leaking of a confidential report of the Bureau of Corrections indicating that he approved the grant of special privileges to the New Bilibid Prison inmates who testified against De Lima.
He ordered Corrections Chief Benjamin Delos Santos to probe the leak and “file appropriate administrative charges [against] those officials and employees involved.”
The document dated Dec. 9, 2016 and signed by BuCor legal Alvin Lim says the inmates had been allowed to use cellphones inside their temporary detention cells.
PNP and BuCor officials said they were just following Aguirre’s instruction to allow the inmates to have cellphones in their cells in return for their testimony during the congressional inquiry on the proliferation of drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison.