MANILA - Senator Leila De Lima has filed a 2nd petition before the Court of Appeals to stop the Department of Justice from acting on the criminal complaint filed by National Bureau of Investigation against her in connection with her alleged receipt of millions in drug payoffs from self-confessed illegal drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa.
In a 41-page petition for certiorari filed last January 30, De Lima claimed the DOJ has no jurisdiction over her case and it is the Office of the Ombudsman which should handle the preliminary investigation of the complaint.
”The DOJ has no jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation of the aforementioned case against petitioner, the latter’s position as former DOJ Secretary being material to the complaint which brings under the investigative authority of the Office of the Ombudsman pursuant to Republic Act No. 6770 in relation to Presidential Decree No. 1666,” the petition read.
Espinosa had claimed that De Lima received P8 million from him to help fund her senatorial campaign.
De Lima accused the DOJ of "manifest partiality, hostility and bias against her," violating her right to due process, and grave abuse of discretion when its panel of prosecutors handling the case issued “verbal” and “unrecorded rulings” instead of issuing formal and written orders.
The former justice chief urged the appellate court to immediately issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) to stop the DOJ from resolving the complaint.
De Lima had earlier filed a similar petition with the CA involving consolidated complaints of drug trafficking over her alleged involvement in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) illegal drug trade. The complaints were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, and high-profile NBP inmate Jaybee Sebastian.