De Lima asks CA to dismiss Binay's contempt petition

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to dismiss the petition for contempt filed against her by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, saying there was "no basis" in allegations she conspired with other officials in disobeying a court order stopping Binay's suspension.

In the comment she submitted before the appellate court on Monday, April 6, De Lima denied that she had conspired with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Last month, the CA issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the Ombudsman's 6-month preventive suspension against Binay and other city officials.

The order, however, came several hours after the suspension order had already been served.

The Ombudsman and the DILG maintained that the TRO was now "moot and academic" because it came too late. Sought for her opinion, De Lima also concurred that Binay should be considered suspended.

Binay had filed a petition to cite De Lima, the Ombudsman, and the DILG in contempt for defying the TRO.

In her comment, the justice secretary said she did not disobey the court order, nor did she conspire with other officials to defy the TRO.

"Conspiracy is a serious charge. Conspiracy must be proven, must be established," she said.

“It's really preposterous to claim a conspiracy,” she added.

To establish conspiracy, De Lima said Binay should prove beyond reasonable doubt that she was acting as an agent of the DILG and the Ombudsman, to whom the TRO was directed.

“In his petition, Binay's allegation of conspiracy are mere suppositions and pure illusions, already descriptive of a mental state that can only be considered as extreme paranoia,” she said.

The CA has submitted for resolution the contempt petition filed by Binay after oral arguments held last week.

Earlier Monday, the appellate court granted Binay's plea for a writ of preliminary injunction, stopping the Ombudsman's suspension order against him indefinitely. –