SC denies De Lima’s appeal to join ICC oral arguments

Lian Buan

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SC denies De Lima’s appeal to join ICC oral arguments
The High Court says the August 28 oral arguments will proceed as scheduled

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) en banc voted to deny the motion for reconsideration filed by Senator Leila de Lima to personally participate in the oral arguments on the Philippine withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The en banc voted 10-3 on Thursday, August 23. Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza again voted in favor of De Lima. Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa became the 3rd dissent; he was on leave during the first vote on August 7.

“This plea was denied by the Court on August 7, 2018 (10-2). The Court, in denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration found that no new argument had been presented to warrant a reconsideration of its earlier resolution,” said the Court.

The oral arguments will proceed on August 28, as directed by the Court. (READ: Playing the cards right? Politics of ICC oral arguments)

The first time her appeal was denied, the Court said De Lima did not provide a compelling reason why she should be allowed to get out of her detention cell when the minority senators can just get another lawyer.

“The Court also noted that Senator De Lima did not, at any time, plead circumstances or competencies exclusive to her which make her appearance, to the exclusion of her co-petitioners, imperative and indispensable,” the SC said then.

Height of irony?

In her motion for reconsideration, De Lima said that “it would be the height of irony” to deny her request when the SC granted bail to former senator Juan Ponce Enrile in his non-bailable charge of plunder “without the Bill of Rights being implicated and without the benefit of the Rules of Court.”

It was also Carpio’s point in his dissent.

“It is, therefore, abnormal and alarming to require a compelling reason on the part of Senator De Lima as a novel exception to the application of a subsisting rule, Rule 138, Section 34 of the Rules of Court, thereby preventing Senator De Lima’s exercise of a fundamental right under the Constitution,” De Lima said.

Rule 138 states that a litigant may represent herself in a case. De Lima is a co-petitioner with the minority senators.

“Senator De Lima’s right to argue her own case on a grave constitutional issue, accompanied by PNP personnel, is surely a more justifiable reason for a grant of appearance before this Court than to attend birthday celebrations or school graduations, or enjoy Christmas and New Year furloughs,” Carpio said in his dissent. (READ: PH courts inconsistent in letting detainees attend family events)

Carpio was referring to the holiday furloughs given to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to the likes of former senator Bong Revilla and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.