Lacson teases De Lima: Don’t hide abroad, go home after foreign trip

Camille Elemia
Lacson teases De Lima: Don’t hide abroad, go home after foreign trip

LeAnne Jazul

'I said [to Senator Leila De Lima] in jest, bumalik ka, 'wag mo 'ko gayahin,' says Senator Panfilo Lacson, who hid overseas in 2011 to escape persecution under the Arroyo administration

If there’s one advice Senator Panfilo Lacson has for embattled Senator Leila de Lima, it’s that she should return to the country after her official trips abroad.

Lacson, who left the country to avoid persecution during the Arroyo administration, jokingly said this to De Lima prior to her overseas trip.

Lacson returned to the Philippines in 2011 after over a year in hiding. At the time, then justice secretary De Lima launched a manhunt against Lacson for being implicated in the murder of publicist Salvador Dacer and driver Emmanuel Corbito.

“She was supposed to interpellate dun sa aking bill dun sa anti-wiretapping, so dahil Monday magreresume, aalis daw siya Sunday. So I said in jest, bumalik ka, ‘wag mo ‘ko gayahin,” Lacson told reporters on Monday, December 12.

(She was supposed to interpellate my bill on anti-wiretapping but since it will resume on Monday, she said she will leave on Sunday. So I said in jest, return to the country, don’t do what I did.)

De Lima supposedly told him: “Hindi, babalik talaga ako dahil haharapin [ko] mga kaso.” (No, I will really return because I will face the cases against me)

De Lima left the country on Sunday, December 11, for speaking engagements in the United States and Germany. She vowed to return to the country to face the pending drug charges and ethics complaints against her.

Lacson said it is De Lima’s right to travel, after all there is no pending hold departure order nor arrest warrants against her. The Department of Justice earlier issued a lookout bulletin for De Lima and several others for their alleged links to illegal drugs.

“Wala ‘kong nakitang mali doon sa pag-alis nya. In the first place, meron siyang permiso sa Senate President – dahil nga may speaking engagement, official yung kanyang travel. I don’t see anything wrong [with her] leaving kasi wala naman warrant of arrest, wala namang court order, na may HDO sya,” he said, referring to the hold departure order which bars a person from leaving the country.

(I don’t see anything wrong with her leaving. In the first place, she has the permission of the Senate President because she has a speaking engagement, her travel is official. I don’t see anything wrong with her leaving because she has no warrant of arrest, no court order that there is an HDO.)

Asked if he believes that his fellow senator would return to the country, Lacson said it is ultimately her choice and she has to face the consequences of her decision.

Well, lookout niya rin yun. Kung tumakas siya that’s her choice. Hahanapin siya,” Lacson said. (That’s her lookout. If she escapes, that’s her choice. The government will search for her.)

If she chooses to remain out of (the country), even assuming wala pang warrant of arrest, pwede naman siya talagang umalis but option niya ‘yun eh. May kasabihan nga, the lowest form of the law can easily catch up kahit kanino,” he added.

(If she chooses to remain out of the country, even assuming there’s no warrant of arrest, she can really leave but its her option. There’s a saying, the lowest form of the law can easily catch up with anyone.)

De Lima is facing multiple drug-related charges before the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman, a disbarment case before the Supreme Court, and 2 complaints before the Senate ethics panel, among others.

She is set to return to the country on December 22. The Senate is set to go on Christmas break on December 17. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.