Sen. Leila De Lima has expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court ruling blocking her from participating personally in the oral arguments on the government’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.
The detained lawmaker lamented that she had always fought for human rights and accountability.
“Truly, taking on such a task of arguing before the SC in this case would be a natural progression of my decade-long twin advocacy for upholding human rights of all persons, and the holding of public officials accountable to their abuses against the people they ought to serve,” De Lima said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the SC threw out her petition to be given furlough and argue on the minority senators’ petition challenging the executive department’s withdrawal of membership from the ICC.
The high court said it “found no compelling reason to have Senator De Lima personally appear during the conduct of oral arguments.”
The debate is set next week, August 14, at 2 p.m.
De Lima’s co-petitioners, Sens. Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV, backed the detained senator’s plea. They said their case would be best presented by De Lima, and that they would no longer be represented by a counsel during the oral arguments.
But the SC said De Lima failed to cite arguments exclusive to her case which would make her appearance in the oral arguments indispensable.
De Lima said her plea is borne from her “desire to highlight the importance of the Philippines’ continued status as a State-Party to the Rome Statute, and why Duterte is deathly afraid of it. This is Duterte ensuring impunity for himself.”
“With this development, my co-petitioners and I will now decide on a proper course of action to ensure that we will be duly heard by the Supreme Court,” De Lima added.
Aquino, in a separate media interview on Tuesday, said they would “have to find another lawyer” since SC junked their plea.
The high court in junking De Lima’s plea stressed that the petitions are already challenging “intensely, politically-charged matters.”
“It, thus, exhorted all parties to be tactful and sober and to refrain from any posturing that may detract from a dispassionate, level-headed resolution,” SC spokesman Theodore Te said.
"The Court expressed the hope that the denial of petitioner De Lima’s plea could allow the Court to proceed to a composed resolution of the ultimate issues," he added.
The country’s withdrawal of membership from the ICC also faces a second petition, which was consolidated with the opposition senators' case, filed by the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court led by former Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Rosales.
The Philippines announced last March that it would be withdrawing from the ICC. The announcement came a month after the international tribunal's prosecutor opened a preliminary examination—not an investigation—into the alleged crimes against humanity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
The purpose of the examination, which the Palace initially welcomed, is for the ICC's prosecutor to determine whether the court has jurisdiction over a communication—not a complaint—filed by lawyer Jude Sabio.
De Lima 'disappointed' with Supreme Court ruling Blocking her Plea to Argue vs ICC Withdrawal
4/ 5Oleh BNP Correspondent