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Friday, February 17, 2017

CA rejects De Lima’s bid to stop DOJ drug probe

Published February 17, 2017 8:44am

Senator Leila De Lima has failed to secure from the Court of Appeals a stay order that would have stopped the Justice Department from deciding on the criminal complaints against her in connection with the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.

On February 10, the CA Special Sixth Division refused to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) in favor of De Lima, citing her alleged failure to show proof that she will suffer irreparable loss if her appeal is not granted.

"Mere allegations... absent proof, cannot be the basis for the issuance of an injunctive writ," the CA said in a resolution.

Instead, the appellate court ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file its comment to the petition within 10 days from receipt of the copy of the resolution.

De Lima also has 10 days to respond to the DOJ's comment to her petition.

CA Associate Justice Nina Antonio Valenzuela penned the resolution that Justices Romeo Barza and Edwin Sorongon concurred in.

Pending before the DOJ are four complaints which accuse De Lima of tolerating drug syndicates inside the national penitentiary in exchange for campaign funds in the 2016 polls.

De Lima dismissed the allegations, calling it a fabrication by the Duterte government which she criticized over the unexplained killings of drug suspects under its war on illegal drugs.

In her petition, De Lima said the complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, former NBI deputy directors former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda, and Ruel Lasala and NBP high profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian should be referred to the Office of the Ombudsman.

She said that only the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over complaints against government officials and employees.

De Lima added that it would be a "waste of time and government resources" if the DOJ would still pursue the investigation on these complaints after conceding that it is the Ombudsman that has primary jurisdiction.

The department is expected to release anytime soon its resolution on whether probable cause exists to forward the complaints to the court for trial or the Ombudsman for another investigation.

De Lima has vowed not to resist any arrest warrant that may be issued against her even as she feared that she may become a victim of extra-judicial killings while under detention.  —LBG, GMA News


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