Solgen denies Jaybee Sebastian deal

SOLICITOR General Jose Calida has denied allegations by detained Senator Leila de Lima that he had allowed convicted carnapper Jaybee Sebastian to return to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in exchange for his testimony against the former justice secretary.

In a memorandum, De Lima told the Supreme Court that the Solicitor General made a deal with Sebastian, a convicted carnapper, for the latter to come up with fabricated testimonies to pin down her down.

"Senator De Lima can do better than that. There is no truth to her allegations. Her absurd theories are desperate and futile attempts to veer the issue away from her involvement in narco-politics," Calida said.

The top government lawyer reiterated that the charges against de Lima are not politically motivated contrary to what she claims.

"Senator Leila De Lima's case is not tainted with any element of political persecution," Calida said.

"The charges against her only manifest the government's political will to go against narco-politicians regardless of rank and stature," he added.

In same memorandum, De Lima said that her case is special, not because she is a senator but because of the government's willingness to use its power to persecute her as fulfillment to the promise of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Calida, in his memorandum filed before the SC, said that the senator is asking the court to take an "extraordinary step" of suspending the operation of the Rules of Court in order to grant her petition.

The senator has filed a petition with SC for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction to invalidate the arrest warrant against her and stop the continuation of her trial before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC).

'De Lima disregarded hierarchy of courts'

According to Calida, De Lima's petition should be dismissed as she disregarded the principle of hierarchy of courts, violated the proscription against forum-shopping and attached defective jurats.

Jurats is a portion in a petition where the date of when the petition was subscribed and sworn to was indicated.

"The best argument that the petition is not the plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law is De Lima’s prayer in the petition wherein she is asking the Court to enjoin Judge Guerrero from conducting further proceedings until and unless the Motion to Quash is resolved with finality," Calida said.

"This is an admission that the respondent Judge has not yet resolved the motion to quash. If De Lima wants Judge Guerrero to rule on the motion, there is no reason for the filing of the present petition," Calida added.

Calida said the senator must not be accorded a special treatment, as her case, just like other cases could also be tried by the lower courts.

"De Lima is facing an ordinary criminal case. The issues she has presented are common legal issues which may be passed upon by the Court of Appeals and the RTC," Calida said.

"No special circumstances exist to justify the immediate and direct filing of the petition with the Supreme Court. De Lima cannot therefore ask the Supreme Court to deviate from the rule," he added.

Senator de Lima, facing drug trafficking charges before the Muntinlupa RTC for her alleged participation in the proliferation of illegal drug trading in the NBP is now detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Quezon City.

The SC has yet to rule on her petition to nullify the February 23 arrest order issued by Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa RTC branch 204 over her alleged illegal drug ties. (SunStar Philippines)
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