Aguirre: Irresponsible to say DOJ rushing De Lima's arrest

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II slammed Senator Leila de Lima's statements as "erroneous" and "irresponsible", after the senator accused the Department of Justice (DOJ) of skirting court procedure to rush the issuance of an arrest warrant against her.

"It is a totally irresponsible statement. It implies that we can control or influence our courts. We do not do that, at least in my time as Secretary of Justice. It might be what was done during her time at the DOJ but definitely it will not be done during my time," Aguirre said in a statement on Monday, February 13.

De Lima said on Monday morning that she expects an arrest warrant against her to be out soon, and that the DOJ will file the charges before a trial court instead of the Office of the Ombudsman.

"Imbis ipadala sa Ombudsman, kasi 'yun ang tamang may jurisdiction, ididiretso nga nila sa regular courts para makakuha ng arrest warrant," De Lima said.

(Instead of bringing the resolution to the Ombudsman, which has jurisdiction over me, they would go straight to regular courts to secure an arrest warrant.)

Aguirre said, however, that there's no truth to De Lima's statements.

"It is totally irresponsible of her to announce that the DOJ is expediting the issuance of such warrants. That is a blatant lie and a total misinformation. Senator De Lima's motivation for saying such is beyond us," Aguirre said.

Last week, Aguirre had said the arrest order against De Lima would be out "anytime" soon in connection with her alleged links to illegal drugs.

"She knows that anytime, lalabas na ang warrant of arrest (the arrest warrant against her would be served)," he said. (READ: LP senators to DOJ: Arrest warrant without credible evidence is illegal–

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.