Anong espesyal kay Leila? Big name or small name, we have to follow the rules! – Supreme Court

Photo from rappler/Philippines lifestyle news

The Supreme Court Justices pointed out Senator Leila de Lima for seeking the dismissal of the arrest warrant issued for her.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen asked De Lima’s lawyer, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, what makes De Lima’s case special and very different, when ordinary people would usually go through trial court before running to the Supreme Court.

"What makes this case special and very different? I think that's a concern of some of the justices... My point is that we should be even-handed with the law. Even if your name happens to be a big name or a small name, you have to follow the rules. So what's so special with this case?" Leonen said.

"We have to be very clear why we are treating this case specially, especially if the consequences would be different from, say, somebody who was arrested with 0.01 grams of shabu in the street," the magistrate added.

Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. said that the plea for the dismissal of De Limas’s arrest warrant was premature at this stage.

"Your relief actually is to order the RTC not to do anything with the case until the motion to quash is resolved," Velasco said.

"This is premature in my reading," he added.

De Lima’s lawyer Hilbay believed that the case against his client was “bogus” prompting the Supreme Court cut him short.

"You know counsel, every accused will say that the charge is bogus. To some it may be correct, to some it may be wrong. Our ordinary course of the law is we trust the trial courts, that our trial courts will see the evidence at certain point. In criminal prosecution there are a lot of remedies that may be availed of,"

Hilbay was grilled for more than three hours by the justices during the oral arguments.

Among these remedies which De Lima did not avail of, according to the magistrate:

- filing of counter-affidavit and simultaneously questioning the jurisdiction of the DOJ with the panel of prosecutors during the preliminary investigation into the complaint;

- once the complaint was resolved, filing a motion for reinvestigation;

- before indictment, asking the RTC to suspend the proceedings and requiring the panel of prosecutors to conduct reinvestigation;

- assuming she was already indicted and she was not given the chance to file her countervailing evidence with the DOJ, move for the RTC to order a reinvestigation;

- as an alternative, file a motion for judicial determination of probable cause, motion for bill of particulars, or a motion to dismiss the case before the RTC on the basis of lack of probable cause.

The hearing will resume next Tuesday, March 21.

Source:  abs-cbn,  gmanetwork

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