De Lima fails to get TRO on drug probe

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Court of Appeals (CA) denied Senator Leila de Lima's petition for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which sought to stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from investigating drug complaints against her.

In a resolution promulgated on February 10 and released to media on Friday, February 17, the CA's special 6th division denied De Lima's petition for a TRO and/or preliminary injunction.

This means that at this stage, the DOJ can still investigate the senator. A DOJ panel is expected to issue a resolution that would formally file criminal charges against De Lima and which Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had said "would be out soon."

De Lima had asked the CA to stop the DOJ probe, saying the Ombudsman should be the one handling the case because she is an elected official.

The CA however still has to tackle the substance of De Lima's petition.

In its resolution, the court ordered the DOJ and complainants such as the National Bureau of Investigation, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and inmate Jaybee Sebastian to respond to De Lima's petition prohibiting the department from probing her.

"Without necessarily giving due course to the petitioner's petition for prohibition and certiorari...the court requires the respondents to file comment to the petition, within ten days of receipt of this resolution, and requires the petitioner to file reply to the comment within ten daus from receipt of the respondents' comment," the resolution said.

Aguirre said the CA resolution "only means that her petition has no basis in fact and in law."

De Lima had said the DOJ was planning to charge her in court instead of the Ombudsman in order to get an immediate warrant of arrest against her.

Aguirre said it was irresponsible of De Lima to accuse the DOJ of trying to influence the courts.– Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

image