Recall arrest warrant, De Lima asks court

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Senator Leila de Lima asked a Muntinlupa court on Friday, February 24, to recall the arrest warrant it issued against her on Thursday, February 23.

De Lima’s lawyers filed the motion to quash the warrant before Judge Juanita Guerrero of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204, according to the senator’s media officer, Ferdie Maglalang.

The senator was arrested at the Senate early Friday.

Lawyer Bonifacio Tacardon stressed that the motion did not mean that they are acknowledging the jurisdiction of the court over the drug charges against De Lima. Tacardon told reporters they maintain their position, manifested in their 3 motions filed previously before the court, that it's the Ombudsman that has jurisdiction over elected officials like De Lima.

PNP CUSTODY. Senator Leila de Lima with the PNP at the Senate building.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

De Lima's lawyers will also question the warrant and the case before the Supreme Court, lawyer Alexander Padilla earlier told reporters.

Three cases filed against De Lima are pending with 3 branches at the Muntinlupa RTC – branches 204, 205, and 206. (READ: EXPLAINER: What is Leila de Lima being accused of?)

Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of the anti-crime watchdog that filed the drug charges against De Lima, insisted the process is legal. Topacio dismissed the claim that the judge rushed the issuance of the warrant, saying the De Lima camp never submitted any evidence to support her.

"It's sheer arrogance," Topacio said, recalling that De Lima had asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the justice department from probing her. The CA refused to grant her a TRO– with reports from Lian Buan / Rappler.com