In the third round of oral arguments before the Supreme Court regarding Senator Leila De Lima’s petition for her acquittal over drug trafficking charges, Solicitor General Jose Calida asked for the dismissal of De Lima’s petition.
Calida cited instances wherein De Lima’s team had violated the hierarchy of courts by bringing her case to the High Court, saying that the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204 who issued her arrest had been capable of hearing her petition rather than proceeding straight to the Supreme Court.
“What is so special about this senator that her lawyers are practically asking this Court to waive its rules so that the court can make a judgment on an incident still pending before respondent Judge Juanita Guerrero? None,” Calida said.
He also cited that the charges against her under Republic Act no. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) are to only be handled by RTCs designated by the Supreme Court. They should not be adjudicated at special courts by the Sandiganbayan, as the court had never tried any drug cases.
“There is no irreconcilable conflict between RA 9165 and the Sandiganbayan Charter, as amended by RA 10660. RA 9165 confers on the RTCs exclusive jurisdiction over drug offenses. On the other hand, the Sandiganbayan Charter confers power to the graft court jurisdiction to hear r offenses committed in relation to public office, to the exclusion of drug cases,” he argued