SC to hold oral arguments on De Lima petition

THE Supreme Court (SC) has set the oral arguments on the petition filed by detained Senator Leila De Lima that seeks to nullify her arrest over her supposed involvement in the illegal drug trading in the national penitentiary when she was justice secretary.

The oral arguments would be on March 14, the magistrates' resolution read.

The Court on Tuesday's en banc session also directed Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 Judge Juanita Guerrero and Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to file their comment to the petition within 10 days.

The SC, however, did not act on the senator's request for the issuance of a Status Quo Ante Order against the arrest order issued by Guerrero last February 23.

This means that De Lima will have to remain at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center where she is currently detained.

De Lima's petition for certiorari assails the order of Guerrero that was released a week after the Department of Justice filed the criminal information with the Muntinlupa RTC.

The DOJ filed drug trafficking charges against the senator and seven others on February 17. The drug cases were raffled off to the three branches of the lower court on Monday, February 20.

In the petition, De Lima said Guerrero acted with "grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" when she issued the February 23 order.

De Lima said the judge should have resolved first her motion to quash the cases "based on lack of jurisdiction" and "lack of evidence" filed the same day the cases were raffled, before she issued the arrest warrant.

Also arrested aside from the De Lima as ordered by Guerrero are her former driver Ronnie Dayan and former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos.

Ragos is detained at the NBI while Dayan is at the Muntinlupa police jail. (SunStar Philippines)
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