DOJ files 3 drug cases vs. De Lima

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Department of Justice filed three criminal complaints against Senator Leila De Lima at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court on Friday afternoon.

The case filed was for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison while she was still Justice Secretary.

The photo of the first pages of the information states De Lima is charged for the Violation of the Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002, specifically for Illegal Drug Trading.

Consolidated cases of drug trafficking were filed against De Lima by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), former National Bureau of Investigation deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, the National Bureau of Investigation, and inmate Jaybee Sebastian.

The case filed by alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa against De Lima was dismissed, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said in a press briefing on Friday afternoon.

Aguirre said the cases will be raffled off on Monday afternoon. If the judge sees clear probable cause, De Lima's warrant of arrest may be served on the same day.

 

He added the cases are non-bailable, and if found guilty, the penalty will be reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.

De Lima: 'Vindictive politics' expected

De Lima has been anticipating her looming imprisonment based on what she called "false charges" filed by the DOJ.

The senator said she is ready to lose her freedom if it means standing up to the Duterte regime, she said in a statement on Friday.

"They are mistaken if they think my fight ends here. It has only begun. This is the kind of vindictive politics that we only expect from this regime... In the end, justice will prevail and we will be vindicated," she said.

De Lima also said her legal counsel will file the corresponding motions as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific RTC branch.

Duterte: Drug cases vs. De Lima are 'strong'

President Rodrigo Duterte believes the drug cases filed against De Lima before the Muntinlupa RTC are "strong."

He added De Lima must face the consequences of her actions when she was still Justice Secretary.

"She will have to face the music," he said on Friday.

CNN Philippines correspondent Anjo Alimario, digital producer VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.