De Lima to question RTC jurisdiction, basis of drug complaints to avert arrest
Senator Leila de Lima is set to question on Monday the lower court's jurisdiction and the basis of the drug charges filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prevent her possible arrest.
A senator's lawyer, who refused to be named, told the Manila Shimbun that once the three cases filed against De Lima are raffled to the different branches of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court, they will push through with the filing of the pleadings.
The lower court is expected to raffle the cases on Monday afternoon.
"Tomorrow afternoon right after the raffle to RTC branches where the three cases will be assigned (the pleadings will be filed)," the lawyer said in a text message.
"It will be a motion to question the jurisdiction of the RTC and the lack of basis of the charges as shown in alleged evidence submitted," the legal counsel said when asked of the pleadings to be filed before the lower court.
The lawyer insisted that the DOJ should have filed the cases before the Office of the Ombudsman and not before the RTC.
The legal counsel expressed belief that no warrant of arrest will be issued against De Lima as the charges against her will be dismissed.
"As the motion is based on strong grounds and the merits of the arguments in the motions, the cases should be dismissed and therefore no arrest will be ordered," the lawyer explained.
The DOJ filed three complaints against De Lima last Friday before the Muntinlupa RTC. The senator allegedly violated Sections 5 and 26 of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which punishes the sale and trading of illegal drugs, and Section 28, which pertains to the criminal liability of government officials and employees.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Muntilupa RTC has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the three cases filed against De Lima.
The senator allegedly benefited from the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was still the secretary of Justice during the previous administration.
"On the matter of jurisdiction, it is the RTC that has original and exclusive jurisdiction over three cases, regardless of the high position of the respondents. Trading in illegal drugs has no connection with the performance of her duties as secretary of Justice," Aquirre said. Celerina Monte/DMS