Justice department files criminal complaints vs de Lima before Muntinlupa court
Three criminal cases have been filed against Senator Leila de Lima by the government agency she used to head before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court over her alleged involvement in illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.
In three separate complaints, the justice department accused De Lima of violating Section 5 and Section 28 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which penalize sale and trade of illegal drugs, and for violating Section 28 of RA 9165, which pertains to criminal liability of government officials and employees.
The 52-page resolution dated February 14 and approved by Prosecutor General Victor Sepulveda was signed by members of the justice department panel composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, Assistant State Prosecutor Editha Fernandez, and Senior Assistant City Prosecutors Alexander Ramos, Leilia Llanes and Evangeline Viudez-Canobas.
The cases stemmed from the complaints by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, former National Bureau of Investigation deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, and and high-profile NBP inmate Jaybee Sebastian.
“The long wait is over," Justice Seretary Vitaliano Aguirre II told reporters after prosecutors filed the complaint against De Lima, who was a justice secretary.
“This is not a product of politics, this is a product of drug trading. They did not rush this. It is not true that I rushed this to have her arrested,” he said.
In a statement, de Lima said: “My lawyers are already on top of the situation and will be filing the corresponding motions as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific branch.”
In the first complaint, De Lima’s co-accused include her former bodyguard Ronnie Dayan and Rafael Ragos, former director of the Bureau of Corrections and deputy director of intelligence of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
In the second complaint, her co-accused are Franklin Bucayu, former BuCor director, and Jose Adrian Dera, a nephew and close-in security of De Lima.
In the third complaint, the co-accused were De Lima’s former security aides Dayan, Dera, and Joenel Sanchez; Bucayu and his staff and alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli, and Jaybee Sebastian, a high-profile inmate at the NBP.
Aguirre said the prosecutors dismissed the complaints against former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III for insufficiency of evidence.
He said the case will be raffled off Monday afternoon.
The justice department also dismissed complaints against high-profile Bilibid inmates Herbert Colanggo, Engelberto Durano, Vicente Sy, Jojo Baligad and Wu Tuan Yuan, also known as Peter Co, since "they will be utilized as prosecution witnesses."
The justice department recommended to the Office of the Ombudsman the prosecution of De Lima for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; receiving and giving of gifts of public officials and employees; and direct bribery and indirect bribery under the Revised Penal Code.
The filing of charges against De Lima came after the Court of Appeals denied the appeal of De Lima to stop the justice department from resolving the drug trafficking complaints filed against her. DMS