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ISSUE OF JURISDICTION

Senate minority decries SC ruling on De Lima petition

The Senate minority bloc on Tuesday lamented the Supreme Court decision dismissing Sen. Leila de Lima’s petition to transfer her drug case to the Office of the Ombudsman but expressed hope that the justices would give the case a thorough second look and render a just ruling.

A women’s group also condemned the ruling, saying it showed how President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration despised dissent and hated “independent and powerful women.”

“We believe that the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over her case. While we don’t agree with the [Supreme Court’s] decision, we respect it and we are hopeful that the justices will ultimately correct the unjust detention of Senator De Lima,” the Senate minority bloc said in a statement.

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The bloc is composed of Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV.

“I assume that Senator De Lima will file a motion for reconsideration and I hope the [Supreme Court] can take a close second look at the decision,” Drilon told reporters.

He also said the minority would continue to ask the Senate to give De Lima furlough from sessions and allow her to perform her duties as a senator while in detention.

“But the ruling doesn’t change the picture because the ruling was on the ability to post bail. We are not asking that she be allowed to post bail, we are asking that she be allowed to attend to her senatorial duties while under detention,” Drilon said.

Trillanes said the ruling was “quite unfortunate,” as it virtually put a stamp of legitimacy on the political persecution and injustice against De Lima.

“It also highlighted Duterte’s total control and manipulation of the three branches of government for his evil political ends,” he added.

Aquino said the minority would continue to support De Lima as she appealed the decision.

“We remain hopeful that the high court will allow Senator Leila to fulfill her duties as a duly elected senator even under detention,” he said.

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Hontiveros said the minority would continue to fight for De Lima’s release from detention.

“I call on Filipinos who advocate for democracy and human rights to continue giving their support to Senator De Lima,” she said.

For the group #Everywoman, the ruling indicated what could happen to independent women under the Duterte administration.

“[Senator de Lima] is the prime example of what women will become under this government that is hell-bent on imposing its brand of hateful authoritarianism. It has punished Senator De Lima as a show case of what it can do to other [female] critics like Ombudsman (Conchita) Carpio Morales, Senator Hontiveros [and] Chief Justice (Maria Lourdes) Sereno,” the group said in a statement.

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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino, Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Leila de Lima, Office of the Ombudsman, Risa Hontiveros, Rodrigo Duterte, Supreme Court, war on drugs
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