No wheelchair or neck brace, no escape plan or hospital arrest.
Sen. Leila de Lima has begun preparing herself and her family in case a court orders her arrest. She expects the Department of Justice would soon resolve criminal complaints implicating her in illegal drugs when she was justice secretary.
De Lima, who has repeatedly denied allegations that she took drug money to fund her senatorial bid, said on Tuesday that she had no choice but to submit to an arrest order even as her legal team pursued options to avert such court directive.
She said she expected Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to railroad the filing of charges against her in a Regional Trial Court instead of referring the case to the Ombudsman, which is mandated to handle complaints against government officials.
Once filed in court, the assigned judge may decide to uphold probable cause and order her arrest.
“There is nothing I could do. How can I resist? I cannot physically resist,” De Lima told reporters on Tuesday.
“I am morally and psychologically resisting it because I am innocent, absolutely. But I cannot (physically) resist… What can I do? I will not flee, I will not go into hiding, I will not go to the hospital, I will not use a wheelchair, I will not use a neck brace,” she said, obviously referring to former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Arroyo was held in a hospital for nearly five years on plunder charges, until her cases were thrown out last July by the Supreme Court for lack of evidence.
“I’m not asking for special treatment. I’m not at all asking for any kind of special or VIP treatment. But they must make sure that wherever they put me, it’s a safe and secure area,” De Lima told reporters.
“I hope that in case it (arrest) happens, but God forbid that eventuality, I hope they put me in a safe and secure place. Several have been killed in detention, so what is another EJK (extrajudicial killing)?” she said, recalling the case of Albuera, Leyte, Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. who was killed by policemen in detention last Nov. 5.
While no longer expecting fairness, De Lima said her legal team was “exhausting legal remedies” to stop her arrest. She has pending petitions in the Court of Appeals seeking to stop proceedings on cases against her, and is ready to fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
“I’m pinning my hopes on the judiciary, especially the court, the Supreme Court… I’m not ruling out the possibility that the court or judge who will handle the case would not agree with the finding of probable cause and, therefore, would not issue an arrest warrant,” she said.
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