MANILA—Senate Pres. Aquilino Pimentel III on Monday said the Senate will have to respect the independence of the judiciary in dealing with criminal charges against Sen. Leila de Lima.
“…We have to respect the independence of the judiciary. We should not even predict or anticipate and publicly state what the court should do,” Pimentel said, after holding a caucus with other senators on De Lima’s case.
Pimentel said that he has not yet spoken to De Lima and that he would rather reserve comments on the issue “until something more concrete happens.”
“Hintayin na po natin ang gagawin ng korte (Let’s just wait for what the courts would do),” he added.
The Senate President meanwhile assured that if a member of the Senate is arrested, the Senate would be concerned about his or her safety.
He said that there will be no arrest of De Lima done during session and no arrest inside the Senate premises but with proper coordination with the Senate’s Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms (OSAA), it can be done immediately outside the Senate premises.
De Lima is currently facing three criminal charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) related to her alleged involvement on the proliferation of the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
She said her lawyers are on top of the situation and will be filing the corresponding motions as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific branch.
The neophyte senator earlier said that she has long been prepared to face the charges and that she would continue to fight to prove her innocence.