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DoJ to consolidate drug charges vs De Lima

  • Written by Hector Lawas
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 264

THE Department of Justice will consolidate the two drug trafficking complaints filed against Senator Leila De Lima and several individuals over the alleged illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons.

According to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, to be consolidated are the complaints filed separately by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala.

He said that since both cases involve similar issues, these cases shall be consolidated.

Aguirre said the DoJ is set to create a five-man panel of prosecutors who will handle the complaint against the lady senator.

The panel shall conduct the preliminary investigation and will forward its findings to the Office of the Ombudsman, the agency mandated to investigate and prosecute erring government officials and employees.

Last Tuesday, the VACC lodged the complaint against the lady senator for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) by supposedly conspiring with several other officials in the previous administration and high-profile NBP inmates in the drug trade during her stint as jusice secretary.
   
Aside from De Lima, other officials who were charged with conspiracy were former DoJ undersecretary Francisco Baraan III and former BuCor chief Franklin Bucayu.
   
De Lima’s former bodyguards, Ronnie Dayan and Presidential Security Group member Joenel Sanchez, were also charged along with Jose Adrian Dera, also Bucayu’s alleged bagman Wilfredo Ely and high-profile convict at the NBP Jaybee Sebastian.
   
De Lima and the other respondents were specifically charged with violation of Section 5 (sale and trading of illegal drugs) in relation to Section 26 (b) (conspiracy) of R.A. 9165.
   
This was followed by a complaint last Thursday by ex-NBI officials who tagged De Lima as “mother of all drug lords”.