Provide your email for confirmation

Tell us a bit about yourself

country *

Please provide your email address

welcome to Rappler

Login

To share your thoughts

Don't have an account?

Login with email

Check your inbox

We just sent a link to your inbox. Click the link to continue signing in. Can’t find it? Check your spam & junk mail.

Didn't get a link?

Sign up

Ready to get started

Already have an account?

Sign up with email

By signing up you agree to Rappler’s Terms and Conditions and Privacy

Check your inbox

We just sent a link to your inbox. Click the link to continue registering. Can’t find it? Check your spam & junk mail.

Didn't get a link?

Join Rappler+

How often would you like to pay?

Annual Subscription

Monthly Subscription

Your payment was interrupted

Exiting the registration flow at this point will mean you will loose your progress

Your payment didn’t go through

Exiting the registration flow at this point will mean you will loose your progress

welcome to Rappler+

De Lima: VP Binay enjoys immunity from lawsuits

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on Tuesday, July 7, corrected her earlier statement that vice presidents do not have the immunity from lawsuits enjoyed by presidents.

Citing "conventional wisdom," De Lima conceded that Vice President Jejomar Binay may not face criminal prosecution for allegedly anomalous contracts he entered into when he was mayor of Makati City. 

She said it is up to the courts to decide on this, but added that the Supreme Court will likely favor the Vice President. 

"Conventional wisdom among lawyers is that any criminal action against an impeachable official can only go so far as filing an information. It is still up to the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to categorically decide on whether or not the filing of a criminal charge amounts to a violation of impeachability," she said.

She said the Vice President may not be arrested either. "The initiation of a criminal case entails the issuance of a warrant of arrest, and this implies restraint on the person of the impeachable official that highly compromises his status as such," she said.

De Lima initially argued that while impeachable officials may only be removed by the Senate sitting as an impeachment court, they may face suits that would not result in their removal from office. She cited civil suits for forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth as an example.

"The Constitution states that impeachable officials shall not be removed from office except by impeachment. It does not say categorically to what extent they may be subject to prosecutorial action without their impeachability being affected. Theoretically, they can be subject to criminal proceedings so long as they are not removed from office, such as what the Supreme Court has done with Commissioners of the Comelec in several cases when it cited said Commissioners in criminal contempt," De Lima clarified on Tuesday.

The justice secretary's initial opinion, which was in support of the position of Senate President Franklin Drilon, was assailed by lawyers.

Among the officials who may only be removed through an impeachment trial are presidents, vice presidents, justices of the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman, and other constitutional officials. – Rappler.com