De Lima questions Muntinlupa RTC’s jurisdiction on drug raps
Sen. Leila de Lima on Monday said she was hoping that the judge assigned to drug-related cases against her would take time to study the motions set to be filed by her legal team, which question the jurisdiction of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) over the said cases.
In an ambush interview hours after the drug cases against her had been raffled off to Muntinlupa RTC branches 204, 205, and 206, De Lima maintained that the Office of the Ombudsman and not the RTC has the jurisdiction over the charges.
“Umaasa po ako na pag-aaralan nang husto ng mga judges ‘yung mga grounds na ire-raise ng aking mga abogado at in the meantime ay huwag muna silang mag-issue ng warrant of arrest, i-suspend muna dapat muna nila pending ‘yung mga issues na ire-raise ng aking mga abogado,” De Lima told reporters.
“Ang principal issue nga po na nire-raise dito ay jurisdictional dahil dapat idiniretso ito sa Ombudsman. Malinaw po na pinilit lang po ‘yan gawin na i-file sa RTC. Alam naman po nila ‘yan na mali, may depekto, hindi tama, procedurally wrong based on existing law and jurisprudence na i-file sya sa RTC,” she said.
De Lima is facing nonbailable drug charges filed by the Department of Justice for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Acts for her alleged involvement in the Bilibid drug trade. She had repeatedly dismissed the charges as false and railroaded.
Following Monday’s raffle, records of the charges will be forwarded to the courts to determine if there is probable cause to issue an arrest warrant. Depending on the appreciation of the assigned branch of the case merits, an arrest warrant can be issued immediately or within a period of ten days.
But noting that the perpetrators of the case went down the stretch to make sure that it will progress in the RTC, De Lima lamented that the charges should have not qualified as under conspiracy and nonbailable.
“May mga nakalagay doon na taking advantage of position, using influence and power of my office and having moral ascendency over the drug convicts. If that is the case, then clearly, ‘yung pinaparatang nila sa akin na nakipagkuntsabahan sa mga drug convicts are in relation to my office then as SOJ. Sigurado po ako diyan na pinilit lang nila ‘yang mapunta sa regular courts. It’s such a stretch na ginawang non-bailable ‘yung mga kaso na ‘yan,” she said.
“Hindi po dapat papasok ‘yan sa tinatawag nilang conspiracy. It’s such a strectch kasi ‘yun nga po ang balak, gawing nonbailable at makakuha agad ng warrant of arrest,” De Lima added. JE/rga
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