Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday said he teased Senator Leila de Lima not to be a fugitive from the law as he did six years ago.
“In jest, sabi ko sa kanya, bumalik ka. Huwag mo akong gayahin ... so sabi naman niya, ‘babalik talaga ako’ dahil haharapin niya daw yung kaso,” Lacson told reporters in an interview.
De Lima flew to the United States Sunday amid a lookout bulletin issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ). She is set to receive an award in the United States, and speak at the Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, Germany after.
De Lima, who will be abroad from December 11 to 22, had earlier vowed to return to the country.
Lacson said he sees nothing wrong with De Lima’s decision to leave the Philippines amid the complaints she is facing before the DOJ. De Lima is also facing ethics complaints at the Senate, as well as a disbarment case before the Supreme Court (SC).
“I don’t see anything wrong with her leaving kasi wala namang warrant of arrest against her eh. Wala naman court order na may HDO (hold departure order) siya,” Lacson said.
“By the way, nung umalis ako, wala rin akong warrant of arrest ah,” he stressed.
If and when De Lima chooses not to return to the Philippines, Lacson reminded that “the long arm of the law can easily catch up with whoever.”
Lacson said De Lima’s flight had the approval of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, it being an official travel during the Senate session. The Senate will go on recess starting December 17.
Lacson went into hiding in 2010, two days before being charged with double murder for his alleged involvement in the killings of publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.
He said then that he left the country for safety reasons, and to escape the harassment of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Lacson returned to the country in March 2011. — RSJ, GMA News