My fight goes on – De Lima

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A shaken but unbowed Sen. Leila de Lima waited at the Senate yesterday to be served the warrant for her arrest, but it never came.

At past 7 p.m., De Lima finally emerged from her office to face the press and announce that she would not resist arrest at the Senate today.

With her fellow Liberal Party (LP) senators seated behind her, she vowed that her fight would go on: “Tuloy po ang laban ni Leila de Lima.”

Her voice cracked only when she said she wanted to go home to spend one more night with her family and prepare for her detention without bail.

She did not take questions from the media.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros did not join her LP colleagues at the press conference, but kept De Lima company at the latter’s office as they pondered their next move. Emerging from the office later, Hontiveros denounced the “travesty of justice.”

“To all of you, I ask for your prayers that I’ll be secure wherever they may take me, wherever they will detain me,” a teary-eyed De Lima told reporters in Filipino last night after emerging from a three-hour meeting with her fellow senators.

As of 7:20 p.m., the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Juanita Guerrero of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court branch 204 had not yet been served, so De Lima decided to go home first to be with her family and get her belongings that she would bring to jail.

“I return here tomorrow morning and I’ll wait here in the Senate for the arresting team. I’ll wait for them. I’ll voluntarily surrender to them. But now, I want to be with my family at home,” she said.

De Lima stressed she has no intention of evading arrest. “I have no plans to hide because I will face all of those cases,” she said.

De Lima described the issuance of the arrest warrant as questionable, saying the courts were supposed to hear today the motions filed by her lawyers to quash the three charges due to lack of jurisdiction.

She said prosecutors had even sought postponement of the hearing for March 3.

“That was why we were all surprised by the sudden issuance of the order of arrest,” De Lima said.

She said her lawyers will exhaust all legal remedies to address the “questionable” issuance of the warrant.

De Lima was whisked away by a team of Senate security personnel to her waiting vehicle.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV accompanied De Lima to her home in Parañaque City. She arrived at her residence around 8 p.m.

Sources said the Senate leadership intervened and asked the Philippine National Police to move the arrest to today to allow De Lima see her family first last night.

Before holding a press conference, De Lima met her fellow senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and Aquino from the Liberal Party.

An ally, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, visited De Lima at her office.

Drilon said the mood in the room was somber as they discussed all the legal options for De Lima.

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