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SC asks SolGen to answer De Lima’s habeas data suit

/ 05:57 PM November 29, 2016
Jose Calida

Solicitor General Jose Calida. INQUIRER.net SCREENGRAB

President Duterte is still not being required to respond to Senator Leila de Lima’s bid for protection through a petition for habeas data.

The Supreme Court’s Information Chief Atty. Theodore Te on Monday said Solicitor General Jose Calida, the government’s lawyer, was given 10 days to comment on De Lima’s motion for clarification on whether the doctrine of prejudicial question applies to her habeas data suit against Duterte and whether or not the privilege from presidential immunity from suit constitutes a prejudicial question.

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“The Court acting on the motion for clarification filed by Petitioner De Lima directed the Solicitor General (not necessarily as counsel for the President who has not been asked to respond to the petition) to comment within 10 days from notice of resolution directing such comment,” Te said in a press briefing Tuesday afternoon.

De Lima, in a motion dated November 25, said there is a need for the high court to clarify those two issues based on the resolution issued by the Court last November 11.

In the resolution,  the Supreme Court said the issue of immunity of the President from suit is a prejudicial question to be first resolved before the Court decides whether to require him to comment or not pursuant to the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data.

Jurisprudence defines prejudicial question as a question based on a fact distinct and separate from the case but so intimately connected with it that it determines whether the case will proceed or not.

De Lima said the doctrine of prejudicial question has heretofore been applied in criminal cases, when a civil action involves an issue the resolution of which determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed and that this doctrine has not, to the best of her knowledge, been applied in habeas data suits like the one she filed against Duterte.

A writ of habeas data functions as an independent remedy as well as a complement to the writs of habeas corpus and amparo—both of which are aimed at protecting the right to life, liberty and security, especially of victims of politically motivated crimes.

Under the writ of habeas data, a person can compel the release of information, or to update, rectify, suppress or destroy database, information or files in the control of the respondents in a petition.

In De Lima’s habeas data petition, she urged the high court to stop Duterte and his men from gathering personal information about her private life. She added in her petition that the “illegally-obtained pieces of private information should be deleted, destroyed or rectified.”

The high court earlier said it has to resolve the question on immunity from suit first before acting on De Lima’s habeas data petition./rga

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TAGS: her habeas data suit, Leila de Lima, Philippine news updates, President Duterte, presidential immunity, Supreme Court, writ of amparo
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