De Lima camp says SC ruling 'a travesty of justice'

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of detained Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday, October 10, blasted the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that said the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), not anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction over her cases. 

The SC ruling, where justices voted 9-6, effectively keeps De Lima in jail.  

"The decision is a clear travesty of justice," said De Lima's chief of staff, lawyer Fhillip Sawali, in an event to mark the World Day Against the Death Penalty on Tuesday at the chapel of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in Intramuros, Manila. 

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."

He added that the ruling "ignores basic doctrines," such that the Ombudsman "really has the sole and exclusive authority to investigate the case at the level of preliminary investigation, and it should be the Sandiganbayan as a special anti-graft court and not the RTC…that should be trying or hearing the case given the nature of the accusation against her and given her rank."

De Lima's lawyers, "definitely, will file a motion for reconsideration within the next 15 days," Sawali said.

De Lima earlier wanted the SC to rule that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the RTC have no jurisdiction over her cases, so that these cases can be dismissed and she can be set free. (READ: EXPLAINER: Issues on jurisdiction in De Lima cases

The 6 justices who voted for De Lima were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Francis Jardeleza, Marvic Leonen, and Benjamin Caguioa.

The 9 justices who voted against De Lima were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr, Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes, and Alexander Gesmundo. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com

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