MANILA — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima on Wednesday said that Vice President Jejomar Binay does not have immunity from suit.
In a statement, De Lima said that although Binay was an impeachable official, he could still be charged.
De Lima noted that in all impeachable officials, only President Benigno S. Aquino III has immunity from suit.
She said that being an impeachable official means that the said official could not be removed from office, but only through an impeachment.
De Lima added that any case such as a civil case or forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth can be pursued against such an official but the same would not result in his removal from office.
In the jurisprudence or decisions of the Supreme Court (SC), only the President and members of the diplomatic corps, under the international law, have immunity from suit.
In the case of the President, De Lima said, he should be protected from cases so that he could focus on his job to lead the country, while the diplomats were under the doctrine of international law because they were under the jurisdiction of their respective government.
Because of this, De Lima said, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) could file a civil case against Binay to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth from him through the Solicitor General.
De Lima added that the filing, trial and the would-be decision in the civil case cannot affect in being an impeachable officer of Binay because it will only result in the recovery of ill-gotten wealth and he will not be removed from office.