BAGUIO CITY , Philippines – Solicitor General Jose Calida has asked the Supreme Court (SC) for the last time to junk the petition of Sen. Leila de Lima seeking her release from detention after being indicted for drug trafficking.
In a 92-page memorandum filed last Monday, Calida rebutted De Lima’s claim of political persecution supposedly for being the number one critic of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs as reason for her indictment.
Calida believed that such argument was misplaced and should not be given weight by the high court.
“It does not likewise help De Lima to allege political persecution to justify the present petition. The writs of certiorari and prohibition are directed against Judge Guerrero. Judge Guerrero does not belong to the executive branch, from which the political persecution is alleged to emanate,” read the pleading.
The Solicitor General also defended his presence in the earlier preliminary investigation on the drug trafficking charges against De Lima in the Department of Justice, which was questioned during oral arguments as possible proof of persecution against the senator.
Invoking his office’s role as tribune of the people, Calida said the law authorizes him to “act and represent the Republic and/or the people before any court, tribunal, body or commission in any matter, action or proceeding which, in his opinion, affects the welfare of the people as the ends of justice may require.”
“The Solicitor General was not there to influence the conduct of the preliminary investigation with the end in view of having De Lima indicted. If that were his intention, the Solicitor General should have joined the preliminary investigation from its commencement up to its termination.”
He also said there was nothing wrong with the support he gave the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the group which filed the complaint against De Lima before the DOJ, being a former member of the group himself.
“The Solicitor General deemed it prudent at that time to provide much needed moral support to his former organization, the private complainant VACC, which was then pitted against De Lima, a powerful senator of the land,” the pleading read.
Calida, however, made no mention of his supposed meeting with high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian at the New Bilibid Prison where they allegedly forged a deal to pin down De Lima, as alleged in the memorandum filed by the senator’s camp also last Monday.
He only addressed the issue in a statement released last Tuesday.