De Lima camp says SC ruling 'a travesty of justice'

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Palace distances self from SC ruling to keep De Lima in jail | SunStar

The camp of detained Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday, October 10, blasted the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that said the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), not anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction over her cases.

The presidential spokesperson's statement came after the SC, in a 9-6 vote, uphold the jurisdiction of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court over the senator's drug cases.

"I had hoped that the justices who decided against my petition can feel the pain of someone who is sent to prison and yet is innocent of any crime, and has merely fallen victim to the strong arm of the State and the President's deeply-rooted vengeance against her", De Lima said. She allegedly used the proceeds from the drug transactions to her 2016 senatorial bid.

De Lima, who is facing three criminal charges for allegedly receiving kickbacks from New Bilibid Prison drug lords during her term as the justice secretary, is now detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center inside Camp Crame in Quezon City.

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It said that the judge was not obliged to first resolve de Lima's motion to quash before issuing a warrant of arrest.

She also said the case should have been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, which has jurisdiction over officials with a salary grade of 27 or above.

The Liberal Party expressed regret over the decision.

Abella said the executive department would let the SC magistrates to act on the charges against De Lima, who has been accused of allowing the drug proliferation inside the national penitentiary when she was the Justice Secretary.

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But the Supreme Court ruled that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan "is limited to violations of the anti-graft laws and do not extend to violations of the drugs law".

"The decision is a clear travesty of justice", said De Lima's chief of staff, lawyer Fhillip Sawali, in an event to mark the World Day Against the Death Penalty on Tuesday at the chapel of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in Intramuros, Manila.

As a effect, de Lima will have to remain in detention at the Camp Crame Custodial Center while her three drug cases are being heard by three separate branches of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Muntinlupa City.

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