Sunday, 22 October, 2017

Calida lauds SC decision to dismiss de Lima petition

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion Palace distances self from SC ruling to keep De Lima in jail | SunStar
Bennie Garza | 12 October, 2017, 09:00

Leila de Lima's plea for her release and the dismissal of drug-related charges against her, the high court's Public Information Office announced Tuesday.

De Lima said she feels "saddened and pained" by the High Court ruling.

"This landmark case enthrones the majesty of the law which is no respecter of men and women however privileged they are", he said.

During its en banc session, the Court instead upheld the validity of the warrant of arrest issued against her and her indictment before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court for allegedly taking part and benefiting from illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.

De Lima is now detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City for her alleged involvement in rampant narcotics trade inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

"In allowing Judge Juanita Guerrero to proceed with the conduct of the trial, the Supreme Court showed its faith in the impartiality, ability and experience of trial court judges to dispense justice without fear or favor", the Solicitor General said.

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

But the Supreme Court ruled that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan "is limited to violations of the anti-graft laws and do not extend to violations of the drugs law".

She also said the case should have been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, which has jurisdiction over officials with a salary grade of 27 or above.

"Duterte and his government have systematically sought to vilify, harass, and intimidate those who have pursued accountability for drug war crimes domestically and internationally", Conde added.

At the end of the statement, De Lima expressed gratitude to the six justices who opposed the court decision. "I honor them with a profound thanks and admiration for their courage and fealty to their sworn duty", the senator said.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfred Benjamin Caguioa, and Francis Jardeleza voted to grant De Lima's petition.

"I ask only for more fortitude for myself and for my family", De Lima said.

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