In the Know: Drug charges vs De Lima
Sen. Leila de Lima is detained on drug charges, including allegations that she presided over the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her term as secretary of justice.
The Department of Justice filed charges against De Lima in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Muntinlupa on Feb. 17, accusing her of violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, particularly Section 5 (sale) in relation to Section 3 (trading), and Sections 26(b) and 28, pertaining to her criminal liability as a government official.
RTC Branch 204, presided over by Judge Juanita Guerrero, is handling Criminal Case No. 17-165, with coaccused Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s former driver, and Rafael Ragos, former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer in charge and National Bureau of Investigation deputy director.
Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz of RTC Branch 205 is handling Criminal Case No. 17-166 with De Lima’s nephew Jose Adrian Dera as her coaccused.
Judge Patria Manalastas-de Leon of Branch 206 is handling Criminal Case No. 17-167 with Dera, former BuCor chief Franklin Jesus Bucayu and alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli, De Lima’s former aide Joenel Sanchez and NBP high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian as coaccused.
The drug charges are based on complaints brought by the NBI and watchdog group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) using testimony during the House of Representatives’ inquiry into the proliferation of illegal drugs in the NBP during De Lima’s term as justice chief.
Last year, the VACC filed charges against De Lima in the Department of Justice, alleging that she violated the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act by conspiring with several other officials in the Aquino administration and high-profile NBP inmates in the drug trade during her term as justice secretary.
This was followed by a similar complaint filed by former NBI Deputy Directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala against De Lima and Ragos.
“De Lima, acting as the mother of all drug lords and through the use of her authority, was able to appoint and designate men inside the [NBP] in order to ensure the perpetuation of illegal drug trade,” the former NBI officials said in their complaint.
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