Philippine Supreme Court junks lawmakers petition to nullify her arrest

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

Senator Leila de Lima will stay in detention as the majority of Supreme Court (SC) justices voted to deny her petition to dismiss drug-related charges and nullify the arrest order issued against her by a Muntinlupa court.

Lastly, the SC added De Lima's petition was premature as it violated the rule on hierarchy of courts and the prohibition against forum shopping.

"Because of this decision of the Supreme Court, our prosecutors will now move for the arraignment of De Lima to proceed in the RTC".

Sawali said of the SC ruling: "It disregards basic constitutional safeguards against the arbitrary issuance of arrest warrants, that there should be clear and convincing evidence, that the charge against the accused should be made clear, that the nature of the accusation should be clear".

"I assume Senator De Lima will file a motion for reconsideration and I hope the SC can take a close second look at the decision", Drilon said.

Calida said the decision of the high tribunal which voted 9-6 against de Lima shows that "no one is above the law".

The six magistrates who dissented from the majority ruling were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Estela Perlas Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Benjamin Caguioa.

Those who voted against De Lima's petition were Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Noel Tijam, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes, and Alaxander Gesmundo.

De Lima has been detained at the PNP Custodial Center since February for alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City when she was justice secretary during the Aquino administration.

Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204 Judge Juanita Guerrero on February 24 ordered De Lima's arrest over the drug charges filed against her.

De Lima's Senate colleagues and partymates in the Liberal Party said they were saddened and disgusted with the decision.

"But I respect the decision of the Supreme Court".

Drilon said the minority bloc would press Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to have their resolution to have the chamber ask the courts concerned to let De Lima participate in legislative proceedings.

The Supreme Court (SC) affirmed yesterday the arrest and detention of Sen.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV called the SC ruling "quite unfortunate".

A summary of the decision released by the SC said Guerrero did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the arrest warrant even before resolving De Lima's motion to quash.

Hontiveros also appealed to the public who treasured democracy and human rights to continue supporting de Lima and help her fight for truth and justice.

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