Speaker: De Lima arrest a victory on war vs drugs

MANILA — House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday night said the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Senator Leila De Lima over drug charges is a victory in the government’s relentless war against drugs.

“The issuance by the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court of a warrant of arrest for Sen. Leila De Lima for her alleged participation in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison was a victory of the war against drugs,” Alvarez said in a statement.

Alvarez claimed that this is also proof that the country’s criminal justice system is working.

The House of Representatives led a congressional inquiry last October into the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

Several inmates-turned-witnesses tagged the embattled lady senator as having received millions in drug kickbacks in a bid to allegedly bankroll her campaign kitty.

“The House inquiry in aid of legislation into the matter where witnesses tagged her as having received millions from convicted drug lords purportedly for her senatorial (bid) yielded enough evidence to show that indeed she has violated the Dangerous Drugs Act,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez further noted that the Department of Justice arrived at the same conclusion.

The House leader urged De Lima to “peacefully submit herself” to the authorities after receiving the arrest warrant, adding that no one is above the law not even a senator.

“She should now prepare her legal defense against the grave charges against her that merit a long prison term if she is found guilty after a fair trial,” Alvarez said.

“Let the wheel of justice turn and take its course,” he added.

Reports said Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 Judge Juanita Guerrero issued the arrest warrant against De Lima and her co-accused, former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos and her former driver-bodyguard 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. FILANE MIKEE CERVANTES/PNA-northboundasia.com