‘CJ Sereno allegedly working to free Sen. De Lima’



Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is pushing for the release from jail of detained Sen. Leila de Lima over drug-related charges, Supreme Court sources told The Manila Times.
The sources claimed Sereno had been convincing justices to clear de Lima, supposedly in exchange for help in case an impeachment complaint against the chief justice is elevated to the Senate.

The 15-man Supreme Court is divided on whether or not there is probable cause to charge de Lima for drug-related cases, and whether or not the Muntinlupa regional trial court (RTC), not the Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction over the cases, the sources said.

One of the sources said a 40-page draft ponencia or ruling by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. had been circulated among the magistrates.

Velasco recommended that de Lima’s petition to junk her cases be dismissed for lack of merit, upholding the Department of Justice’s authority to file the drug-related charges against her before the Muntinlupa City RTC.

Separate draft opinions have also been circulated among the Supreme Court justices, written by Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Marvic Leonen, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Francis Jardeleza and Diosdado Peralta.

As of press time, de Lima has six votes in her favor, the sources claimed. The figure could reach seven to eight votes depending on Sereno’s lobbying, the sources said.

Sereno has talked to at least two magistrates to get their votes in favor of de Lima, the sources also said.

De Lima, in detention at the Camp Crame Custodial Center in Quezon City, cannot participate and vote in the deliberations of the Senate.

Two impeachment complaints against Sereno are awaiting the endorsement of at least one member of the House of Representatives.

Sereno is accused of betraying public trust for various alleged offenses, such as misdeclaration in her statement of assets and liabilities and her purchase of an expensive, bulletproof sport utility vehicle using taxpayers’ money.



Source:  Globalford.org

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