Senator Leila Delima’s camp asked the tribunal to issue a TRO stopping the proceedings in her drug cases.
Delima urged the high tribunal to issue a status quo ante order and a temporary restraining order barring Executive Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 from hearing her case
The Court deferred taking action on her plea to stop the proceedings in the drug cases against her, and to nullify the arrest warrant issued against her by the Muntinlupa RTC.
Instead, the justices ordered the RTC, the PNP and the Office of the Solicitor General to comment within 10 days on De Lima’s petition, and set the case for oral arguments on March 14 before deciding on her pleas.
It seems that the justices did not see the need to decide right away on De Lima’s petition without hearing the case in oral arguments, even though the Court has the power to do so and has done so in many past cases.
The senator questioned the RTC’s jurisdiction over her case in her petition.
They say that it should have gone to the Sandiganbayan.
Delima said the allegations against her do not actually constitute sale and trading of illegal drugs and liability of government officials under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, but rather only direct bribery.
The charges should fall under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and not the RTC because her position at the time was secretary of Justice, Delima said.
Justice Secretary De Lima’s camp asked the tribunal to issue a TRO stopping the proceedings in her drug cases.
She also wanted the issuance of an SQA on the arrest warrant issued to her by the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 last Friday that would grant her immediate release.
Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II scored De Lima’s lawyers for insinuating that the Justice Department charged her with the wrong offense before the Muntinlupa city regional trial court.
Her lawyers are acting like state prosecutors.
They should know that it is the job of prosecutors to determine what charges to file otherwise, the person would just say, indict me for bribery and not for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
It is the prosecution who solely determines what charges should be filed against the person accused, Aguirre said in an interview.
The accused cannot interfere or suggest what charges to be filed against him.
The accused will only choose the offense with the lighter penalty, he added.
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