De Lima goes to SC to stop Duterte
Senator Leila de Lima on Monday filed a petition for writ of habeas data against President Rodrigo Duterte before the Supreme Court which stops Duterte from getting details about her personal life.
“This is a good fight. I have the right to fight it so I am invoking my legal right to do so?even if I have to step into untested waters to do it,” de Lima told a women’s forum.
De Lima filed the writ to test the immunity from suit of a sitting president as she said that Duterte's "verbal attacks" on her "womanhood and threats on her person are not covered by presidential immunity from suit because they are not the official act of a President."
Jose Manuel Diokno, de Lima’s counsel, said in a press conference aired on TV: “This is of groundbreaking importance…We are asking SC if a sitting president can use resources of his office to wage a personal vendetta. We expect government will say that Duterte is immune from suit.”
“In our view, presidential immunity cannot be used as a shield to block a case like this.” he added.
Malacanang accused de Lima of playing "gender card" in filing the writ of habeas data before the Supreme Court against Duterte.
The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party.
"Senator Leila de Lima is apparently playing the gender card as a shield against mounting evidence of her ties with high-profile drug lords and the proliferation of drug trade in the Bilibid," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
By portraying herself as a victim she seeks to distance herself from the intimate relationships which were also intertwined with drug trafficking while she was the Secretary of the Department of Justice during the previous administration, he said.
"Senator De Lima’s filing of a petition before the Supreme Court is calculated to generate media noise to drown out the accusations against her," he added.
De Lima allegedly received multi-million peso proceeds from the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was still the Justice chief through her alleged driver-lover.
Duterte, in his previous speeches, said De Lima opened narco-politics at the national level.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said De Lima's petition has no basis.
He said Duterte disclosed De Lima's alleged illicit affair with her driver and her alleged involvement in illegal drugs as part of "responding to his duty (as provided) in the Constitution" and the right of the public to be informed.
He also said the administration was not harassing De Lima. "No basis, whether in fact or in law. She's not being harassed," he said.
De Lima said that Duterte's remarks and personal attacks against her were violations of Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. Celerina Monte/DMS