Arrest warrant vs De Lima major step forward in anti-drug war — Abella

MANILA, Feb. 23 (PNA) — The issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima is a major step forward in the administration’s war against illegal drugs, a Palace official said Thursday.

“It is a fulfillment of the campaign promise of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to rid Philippine society of drugs, crime and corruption,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

He said the embattled senator’s impending arrest shows that the no one is spared in the war against illegal drugs.

“The war on illegal drugs targets all who are involved and the arrest of an incumbent senator demonstrates the President’s strong resolve to fight pushers, peddlers and their protectors and that his government will not yield until the last pusher and trader are out of the streets victimizing the Filipino youth,” the Palace official said.

“This we owe to the Filipino youth and the future generations for whom we build a Nation worthy of Filipinos; and Filipinos worthy of the nation,” Abella said.

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.

Abella said that with the arrest warrant, De Lima will now have her day in court where she will have full opportunity to prove her claim of innocence.

This was echoed by Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo who said that the senator “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.”

“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 Duterte keeps on harping every time he has the opportunity, must prevail,” he said.

“She (De Lima), 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. CIELITO REGANIT/