Solicitor General Jose Calida on Monday called Sen. Leila de Lima a hypocrite as he showed a video clip of the senator, then justice secretary, saying there was “nothing unusual” about the quick issuance of a warrant of arrest against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2011.
De Lima and her supporters have cried political persecution as three counts of drug trafficking charges were filed against her in the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) and she was subsequently arrested despite a pending motion to quash.
Calida recalled that in 2011, an electoral sabotage case was filed against Arroyo in the Pasay City RTC at noon and a warrant of arrest was issued before 4 p.m.
“Now that (De Lima) is on the other side of the fence, she’s claiming there was haste. Isn’t this hypocrisy on her part?” he said in a press briefing.
Calida said that under the rules of court, a judge must determine probable cause within 10 days of receiving a case.
The judge has options to dismiss the case, ask the prosecution to provide additional evidence, or issue a warrant of arrest when there is probable cause.
Warrant of arrest
Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 204, one of three courts handling the separate charges, issued a warrant of arrest on Thursday against De Lima and her coaccused, former driver Ronnie Dayan and former Bureau of Corrections officer in charge Rafael Ragos.
They were charged with conspiring to extort drug money from high-profile inmates in New Bilibid Prison to support De Lima’s senatorial bid.
Calida said a court needed to acquire jurisdiction over the respondents through the issuance of the arrest warrants before it could act on the motion to quash.
He said De Lima was mistaken in calling herself a political prisoner.