For her second attempt, this time with the Supreme Court, Senator Leila De Lima has been denied a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
According to the Supreme Court, the high court should first seek comments from the respondents through the Office of the Solicitor General.
Instead, the Supreme Court had set a date for oral arguments which is set on March 14. SC Spokesperson Theodore Te said that the respondents, namely RTC Judge Juanita Guerrero and PNP are given a non-extendable period of 10 days to answer the petition.
De Lima’s primary contention is for her case to be transferred and handled by the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan as she insists that she was only accused of direct bribery and not in the actual sale or trade of illegal drugs which qualifies as an administrative offense.
The petition also accused RTC Judge Guerrero of abuse of discretion when she issued a warrant of arrest against her without her motions.
De Lima had previously filed the same petition to the Court of Appeals and was denied.
Inside sources say that De Lima’s petition for a TRO and Status Quo ante order could still be given depending on the arguments presented by the respondents.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre says that it will be unlikely for the high court to issue De Lima a TRO.
“It is the prosecution who solely determines what charges should be filed against the person accused. The accused cannot interfere or suggest what charges to be filed against her,” Aguirre explained.
Solicitor General Jose Calida, who is supposed to represent the DOJ in the oral arguments rebutted the accusation and said that the issuance of an arrest warrant is necessary for the RTC to require jurisdiction over the accused, as observed in any criminal case.
Calida also agreed with Aguirre that De Lima’s strategic mistake is when she refused to answer the charges against her in an earlier inquiry done by the Department of Justice.
The DOJ accused her of receiving around P10 million from November 2012 to early 2013 through former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos who is also facing graft and corruption charges.