MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Solicitor General Jose Calida called on the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the petitions of Senator Leila de Lima because the notarization on her affidavits were falsified.
In a manifestation submitted to the SC on March 13, or a day before the High Tribunal held oral arguments, Calida said De Lima falsified the notarization of her “jurats” in the verification and certification against forum shopping and in the affidavit of merit supporting her prayer for an injunctive writ.
A jurat is a clause in a legal document that bears the signature of an administering officer or the notarizing lawyer. The injunctive writ, on the other hand, refers to the urgent request by De Lima's camp for a temporary restraining order against proceedings in the regional trial court.
Calida noted that De Lima’s jurats show she personally appeared and swore before lawyer Maria Cecile C. Tresvalles-Cabalo who executed her affidavits dated February 24, which was also the day she was arrested and taken to be detained at Camp Crame.
“Atty. Tresvalles-Cabalo, who is De Lima’s sorority sister, is commissioned as a notary public in Quezon City. This means that she can perform notarial acts only within Quezon City,” Calida said in a statement.
Calida noted the boundaries of the notary’s authority because De Lima was also taken to the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court on February 24 for the return of her arrest warrant. (READ: Did RTC judge in De Lima drug case say she doesn't have jurisdiction?)
“Consequentially, the only time that petitioner [De Lima] could have personally appeared and sworn before Atty. Tresvalles-Cabalo was when petitioner was at Camp Crame since this was the only location that was within Atty. Tresvalles-Cabalo’s notarial commission,” Calida said.
De Lima's lawyer Alexander Padilla, however, refuted Calida and said Tresvalles-Cabalo and De Lima personally met on February 24 for the notarization of the senator's affidavits.
"The Office of Solicitor General (OSG) is desperate and clutching on straws. First, the senator has nothing to do with the jurat which is the responsibility of notary public. Even on this, there was no defect. The notary saw the senator personally for a proper verification and she made the appropriate annotation in her registry. This shows OSG is running out of valid arguments," Padilla said.
Calida, however, submitted affidavits of officers at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center who attested that they did not witness De Lima appear and swear before the lawyer. The solicitor general added that the logbook of the Custodial Center on February 24 does not contain the name of the lawyer.
“In light of all these, there can be no other conclusion than that De Lima falsified her jurats. The falsity of the subject jurats renders De Lima’s Petition a mere scrap of paper which produces no legal effect. The Supreme Court ought to dismiss De Lima’s Petition as it is bereft of any legal consequence,” Calida said.
Padilla said Tresvalles-Cabalo and De Lima met inside the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) headquarters inside Camp Crame, where the senator spent a couple of hours before she was taken inside the custodial center.
Before the oral arguments started on Tuesday, Calida told reporters he was going to deliver a first round knockout.
Calida was not able to argue on Tuesday and will have his turn on March 21.
De Lima’s camp, led by former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, hit Calida for citing a provision of the Dangerous Drugs Act that was different from what was charged against the senator in the informations filed before the Muntinlupa court.
“The stunning discrepancy in the understanding of the DOJ and OSG violates petitioner’s constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against her and palpably indicates that the government doesn’t really have a case,” Hilbay said. – Rappler.com