Posted at Dec 12 2016 11:45 AM | Updated as of Dec 12 2016 12:15 PM
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MANILA (UPDATED) - Sen. Leila de Lima is now en route to Washington, DC from Manila. Onboard an Emirates flight, De Lima is expected to land at the Dulles Airport in Washington, DC at 8:40 a.m., December 12 (US time).
On the same day, she will be awarded by the Foreign Policy magazine in an event at the Four Seasons. On December 13 and 14, the senator will be spending private time with family but she may also hold meetings with some groups in the US.
De Lima will be leaving for Berlin, Germany on December 15 where she is scheduled to speak at the Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy.
De Lima's overseas engagements are scheduled until December 22. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre earlier said De Lima received permission to leave the country because the cases filed against her are still pending before the Department of Justice.
"Acting on the letter of Senator De Lima relative to her plan to travel abroad, the DOJ has issued an Allow Departure Order or ADO to allow her to travel abroad because no case has yet been filed against her before the courts," Aguirre explained. But the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Sunday took to the streets to protest the overseas travels of De Lima.
VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez said he was not convinced that De Lima will return to the country after her official travel, fearing that she will seek asylum abroad. "I appeal to her, huwag ka nang umalis if you really want to prove to us na wala kang kasalanan.
Sa December 21, ini-subpoena ka ng complainants, please appear," he said. "Ito narinig namin na aalis ka, ano aming iisipin? Siguro either mag-seek ng asylum o hindi ka na bumalik."
'Flight is guilt': VACC opposes De Lima's overseas trips The VACC lodged a disbarment case, as well as one of the four criminal complaints against De Lima for allegedly accepting drug pay-offs from high-profile inmates.
Leaders of the House of Representatives are also set to file an ethics complaint against De Lima on Monday afternoon for for discouraging her former driver and alleged bagman, Ronnie Dayan, from testifying at a congressional inquiry into the supposed Bilibid drug trade.