DOJ summons De Lima, 2 of her staff to preliminary hearing on drug cases
The Department of Justice has required Sen. Leila de Lima to attend the DOJ probe of the proliferation of illegal drugs at New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her term as justice secretary from 2010 to 2015.
In a press conference, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Monday that the DOJ had served a subpoena to De Lima and two of her staff members to appear during the preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 2 at the DOJ’s executive lounge for a preliminary hearing on the four illegal drugs cases filed against her.
The cases were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, NBP convict Jaybee Sebastian (who De Lima said was a government asset) and former NBI Deputy Directors Ruel Lasala and Reynaldo Esmeralda.
Aguirre has formed a five-member panel of prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong to handle the consolidated cases.
Other members of the panel are Senior Assistant City Prosecutors Alexander Ramos, Leila Llanes, Evangeline Viudez-Canobas and Assistant State Prosecutor Editha Fernandez as members.
In its subpoeana for De Lima, the DOJ warned that the senator’s failure to appear at the hearing would mean a waiver on her right to be furnished copies of the complaint, supporting affidavits and other documents or evidence to be presented by complainants.
Aguiree said the DOJ would serve the subpoena on other respondents in the case today. Some of De Lima’s 17 coaccused in the four cases are former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Franklin Bucayu and former BuCor officer in charge Rafael Ragos; former De Lima security aides Ronnie Dayan and Joenel Sanchez; and high-profile inmates led by Herbert Colanggo and Peter Co.