Leila to appeal SC verdict

Senator Leila De Lima emerges from her hearing on Drug charges at the Muntinlupa Trial Court

Senator Leila De Lima emerges from her hearing on Drug charges at the Muntinlupa Trial Court

The court voted 9 to 6 to uphold the arrest and detention of Senator Leila de Lima on drug charges.

An ABS-CBN News source earlier said the High Court en banc dismissed De Lima's petition in a 9-6 vote, upholding the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court's jurisdiction over her drug case.

"The Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction is limited to violations of the anti-graft laws and do not extend to violations of the drugs law", the SC held.

The ruling came after Velasco earlier rejected the plea of De Lima for his inhibition due to alleged "conflict of interest" over his "prior actuations" in the case of convicted drug lord German Agojo, one of the witnesses against the senator in the drug cases.

On the other hand, those who voted in favor of granting de Lima's petition were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, Associate Justices Estela Perlas Bernabe, Francis Jardeleza, Marvic Leonen and Benjamin Caguioa.

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. She is not entitled to bail and, if found guilty, could be sentenced to life in prison.

It said that the judge was not obliged to first resolve de Lima's motion to quash before issuing a warrant of arrest.

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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".

At the end of the statement, De Lima expressed gratitude to the six justices who opposed the court decision.

The embattled senator said she will appeal the court ruling and her lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration.

Malacañang on Tuesday declined to comment on the decision.

The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday dashed hopes it would overturn the politically motivated prosecution of the highest-profile critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's murderous "war on drugs".

De Lima has been detained at the police headquarters in Camp Crame for drug-related charges filed by the Department of Justice.

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