Carpio to SC: Why not allow De Lima to argue petition on ICC withdrawal?
If other senators, prominent personalities facing nonbailable offenses have been allowed temporary furlough for varied reasons – from birthday to Christmas furlough to dental check up – acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio can’t see why Sen. Leila De Lima has not been allowed to argue her own case regarding the legality of the Duterte administration’s withdrawal of membership from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“Considering that this Court and the Sandiganbayan have, on numerous instances and for varied reasons, granted temporary furlough to senators and others charged with nonbailable offenses, then all the more reason exists to grant the request of Senator De Lima to personally appear and represent herself during the Oral Arguments in these consolidated petitions.”
That was what Carpio said in his dissenting opinion on the majority decision of the Supreme Court to deny De Lima’s request to argue on behalf of minority senators in their petition before the high court.
Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza also dissented from the majority decision.
Carpio specifically cited the case of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now House Speaker, who was allowed by the Sandiganbayan when she was still facing a case for plunder – a nonbailable offense – to go on a Christmas furlough in 2014. The Supreme Court also allowed her to go on a Christmas and New Year furlough in 2015 and 2016 and on a birthday furlough in April 2016.
He also mentioned the Sandiganbayan’s decision allowing former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is also facing a plunder case, to attend the 80th birthday of his father, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada; attend the graduation of his son; seek therapy for his shoulder; and visit his ailing mother-in-law.
Carpio also noted that the Sandiganbayan also allowed former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to spend Christmas with his family in 2017; undergo dental check up; visit his son Jolo at the Asian Hospital; and visit his ailing father, former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr.
The acting Chief Justice added that the Supreme Court itself allowed former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who is also facing a plunder case before the Sandiganbayan, to post bail because of his advanced age.
“Senator De Lima’s right to argue her own case on a grave constitutional issue, accompanied by PNP [Philippine National Police[ personnel, is surely a more justifiable reason for a grant of appearance before this Court than to attend birthday celebrations or school graduations, or enjoy Christmas and New Year furloughs,” Carpio said.
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