De Lima spends night in Senate to delay arrest

MANILA — Sen. Leila de Lima is delaying until Friday (Feb. 24) morning her surrender to the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) to spend time with her family before being served her arrest.

Photos by Avito C. Dalan

De Lima, former Justice Secretary, left the Senate at Thursday (Feb. 23), around 7 p.m., to her home in Parañaque City to get her belongings expecting to surrender to authorities the next day.

However, she returned to the Senate immediately upon knowing that the PNP-CIDG arresting team was on their way to her house.

The neophyte senator, who was back in the Senate by around 10 p.m., told reporters that the PNP-CIDG went against their arrangement that she would be allowed to go home and be with family until morning.

She said that Senate Pres. Aquilino Pimentel III and Interior and Local Government Sec. Ismael Sueño had agreed that the setup was to allow De Lima to return to her home Thursday night and surrender Friday morning.

It was PNP Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who reportedly ordered for the arrest warrant to be served tonight, De Lima said.

De Lima reiterated that her intention was not to run or hide but requested that would be allowed to see her two sons and surrender in the morning when she felt safer.

“My only request is that they don’t insist on arresting me tonight. I feel less safe if it’s tonight,” De Lima said.

The former Justice Secretary said that if the PNP-CIDG respected the Senate as an institution, they would not insist on arresting her Thursday night.

She said that she will wait for the arrest warrant to be brought to her on Friday morning and willingly surrender to authorities.

Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 Judge Juanita Guerrero issued the arrest warrant against De Lima and her co-accused, former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos and her former driver-bodyguard and alleged drug money bagman Ronnie Dayan.

They were charged with violation of Section 5 (sale) in relation to Section 3 (jj trading), Section 26 (b) and Section 28 or the criminal liability of government officials and employees of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

“The court finds probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest against all the accused Leila De Lima, Rafael Marcos Ragos and Ronnie Palisoc Dayan,” the court order read.

Dayan was reportedly arrested Thursday night.

It is not clear where De Lima will be detained.

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