Government lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition of Senator Leila De Lima that she be released from detention as it reminded the high court how she defied them a few years back when she prevented former president and now Pampanga Congressman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from leaving the country despite a restraining order.
“De Lima is not entitled to special treatment from the Court which she criticized not too long ago for issuing a temporary restraining order that allegedly violated the essence of her ‘watch-list order,” Solicitor General Jose Calida said in a 90-page memorandum submitted to the high court.
“The Court cannot deviate from the standards of review in order to grant her petition,” Calida added.
The memorandum was submitted to the high court Monday and made public Wednesday. It is a requirement by the Supreme Court after an oral argument. After both parties have submitted their respective memorandum, the case is submitted for decision.
Calida said De Lima’s argument that she is a victim of political persecution was misplaced and should be disregarded by the high court.
“It does not likewise help De Lima to allege political persecution to justify the present petition. The writs of certiorari and prohibition are directed against Judge Guerrero. Judge Guerrero does not belong to the executive branch, from which the political persecution is alleged to emanate,” read the pleading.
He added that De Lima’s petition also suffered ‘fatal infirmities’ for failing to provide the exceptional and compelling circumstances to justify her decision to go straight to the Supreme Court in questioning the order of arrest and findings of probable cause by Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Judge Juanita Guerrero.
Calida said that aside from violating the hierarchy of courts, De Lima committed forum shopping when she went to the Supreme Court despite pending petitions before the Court of Appeals.
The Solicitor General added that De Lima’s petition should be considered “unsigned and without legal effect” because the jurat attached to the verification and certification against forum shopping failed to comply with the requirements set under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice.
He also defended his presence in the earlier preliminary investigation on the drug trafficking charges against De Lima in the Department of Justice, which was questioned during oral arguments as possible proof of persecution against the senator.
Calida said the law allowed him to “act and represent the Republic and/or the people before any court, tribunal, body or commission in any matter, action or proceeding which, in his opinion, affects the welfare of the people as the ends of justice may require.”
“The Solicitor General was not there to influence the conduct of the preliminary investigation with the end in view of having De Lima indicted. If that were his intention, the Solicitor General should have joined the preliminary investigation from its commencement up to its termination,” said Calida, who pointed out that he is the Tribune of the people.
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