De Lima: I don't want to be detained in Camp Crame
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima said she would rather be detained at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters instead of Camp Crame, as she trusts the military more than the Philippine National Police (PNP).
"Ayaw ko sa Camp Crame, PNP 'yun. Sa AFP, nando'n 'yung mga drug convicts, I cannot deal with them, I don't wanna be with them, unless may iba pang facility do'n sa AFP. [But] I think I can trust AFP more compared to the PNP," De Lima said on Monday, February 20.
(I don't want to be detained inside Camp Crame, that's the PNP headquarters. At the AFP, the drug convicts are there, I cannot deal with them, I don't wanna be with them, unless the AFP has another facility. But I think I can trust the AFP more compared to the PNP.)
High-profile inmates, including convicted armed robber and drug dealer Herbert Colanggo, were transferred to the AFP Custodial Center in September 2016 to ensure their safety prior to testimonies at the House probe into the Bilibid drug trade. (READ: Aguirre: 'No proof' of VIP treatment of inmates)
Question of jurisdiction
The criminal charges against De Lima have already been raffled off to branches 204, 205, and 206 of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), which are headed by 3 women judges.
De Lima filed motions before the 3 branches, questioning the jurisdiction of the Muntinlupa RTC and arguing that it is the Office of the Ombudsman which should be handling the cases.
It is the same argument in De Lima's petitions for certiorari and prohibition pending before the Court of Appeals.
"'Yung allegations mismo sa Information – taking advantage of my position, using the influence of my office – if that is the case then clearly 'yung pinaparatang nila sa 'kin, dapat sa Ombudsman," De Lima told reporters.
(The allegations in the Information – taking advantage of my position, using the influence of my office – if that is the case, then clearly the allegations are under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.)
The Office of the Ombudsman "has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan."
The Sandiganbayan, meanwhile, has "jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their office."
De Lima's party mate, Liberal Party acting president Senator Francis Pangilinan, again expressed support for her on Monday.
"We are questioning 'tong pagfile ng kaso. Naniniwala tayo na hindi credible 'yung ebidensyang ginamit, at testimonya ng mga convicted na mga drug lords, at binigyan pa – inaabswelto pa sila do'n sa kanilang illegal drug activities kaya talagang kuwestiyonable," Pangilinan told reporters.
(We are questioning the filing of the case. We believe the evidence presented is not credible, including the testimonies of the convicted drug lords – and these drug lords were even cleared of the drug charges against them that's why this is really questionable.)
'Prepared for the worst'
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier said the cases against De Lima should not be handled by the Sandiganbayan because the alleged offenses are not related to her functions as former justice chief.
But De Lima maintained that the charges are just part of political persecution.
"Pinilit lang nila 'yan, sinadya na mapunta sa RTC, at sinadya din na non-bailable 'yung charges. Assuming na tama ang alegasyon, hindi 'yan dapat papasok sa conspiracy. 'Yung kaso na isinampa nila sa akin na drug trade, it's such a stretch," she said.
(They forced it, intentionally filed it before the RTC, and made sure that the charges are non-bailable. Assuming that the allegations are true, it shouldn't be part of a conspiracy. The drug trade accusation against me is such a stretch.)
"Umaasa ako na pag-aaralan muna nila (the judges) at huwag muna mag-issue ng warrant of arrest," she added.
(I am hoping that the judges would carefully study it first and not issue an arrest warrant yet.)
De Lima is facing 3 criminal complaints for allegedly violating Section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which penalizes the "sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of illegal drugs." (READ: What happens after charges are filed against De Lima)
Even as she tries to block the issuance of an arrest warrant, De Lima said she is prepared for the worst.
"I am psychologically and mentally prepared, even for the worst. I may be deprived of my liberty while I'm detained but certainly the spirit is there, the will to survive is there, the will to vindicate myself in due time is there." – Rappler.com