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Arrest warrant vs De Lima part of due process -- Palace officials

Senator De Lima

MANILA, February 23 -- The warrant of arrest issued against Senator Leila de Lima for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade gives her the opportunity to clear her name, Palace officials said Thursday.

In separate statements, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella and Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the embattled senator would now have her day court.

Earlier, a Muntinlupa City judge ordered the arrest of De Lima for one of the three drug trafficking cases filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in relation to her alleged participation in the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison.

Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204 issued the arrest warrants for De Lima and her co-accused, former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos and her former driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan.

“A Muntinlupa court has already issued a warrant for the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade. Senator De Lima will now have her day in court where she will have full opportunity to prove her claim of innocence,” Abella said.

Meanwhile, Panelo said that the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Senator De Lima means “the issuing court finds probable cause that she may have probably committed the crime charged.”

“She should welcome this development herself as she is now given the opportunity to refute any and all allegations and/or evidence to be presented by the prosecution against her,” the President’s chief legal counsel said.

“This is where the real battle begins and not in the media that she relishes to use against the President. The rule of law, as President (Rodrigo) Duterte keeps on harping every time he has the opportunity, must prevail,” Panelo said.

The Palace official said that based on the rule of law, De Lima will now be arrested and detained pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued by a competent court,.

“Unlike when she effected the arrest of former President GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) despite the absence of a criminal charge and a warrant of arrest, she (De Lima) is being given due process which she shamelessly denied former president GMA when she was Secretary of Justice,” Panelo said.

Duterte’s chief legal counsel said that the law of karma has finally caught up with the senator in terms of being arrested and detained.

“The law of karma has finally caught up with the Senator in terms of being arrested and detained. She, however, remains constitutionally presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a presumption she viciously denied the critics of the previous administration,” Panelo said. (PNA)
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