Associate justice hits De Lima move to go straight to SC
Senator Leila de Lima did not follow the rules when she went straight to the Supreme Court to seek the nullification of an order of arrest issued by the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204.
On the continuation of the oral argument, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta said De Lima should have exhausted all possible remedies before going straight to the Supreme Court.
Peralta asked former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay if De Lima filed a motion to quash the information before the lower court to which Hilbay said yes.
“That is the problem. It is pending before you came here. Why not wait for the RTC? …In all cases that came here on lack of probable cause, the RTC first answered the queries of the accused,” Peralta said.
The justice noted that in all cases that went to the Supreme Court questioning the finding of probable cause, the lower court first conducted a hearing.
“Here there is no hearing. To me, the procedure should have been (to) go first to the RTC. If you cannot get a favorable decision, then go to [the Supreme] court,” Peralta said.
However, he pointed out that the senator has waived all the possible remedies starting when she refused to file a counter affidavit before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Hilbay argued that De Lima refused to file because she is questioning the DOJ’s jurisdiction.
The senator maintained that the Ombudsman, not the DOJ, has jurisdiction to handle the complaints filed against her. She also insisted that it was the Sandiganbayan, not the RTC, which has jurisdiction to handle her case.
Peralta said De Lima has a good argument but she did not follow the rules when she went straight to the Supreme Court.
“Here, the problem is she is speculating,” Peralta said. IDL/rga