De Lima wants to participate if Sereno impeach case goes to trial


Posted at Mar 03 2018 06:07 PM

MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Saturday said she would ask the court to allow her to participate in impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno should it reach the Senate.

"Certainly, as a sitting Senator, I am mandated under the Constitution to take part in such proceedings of grave importance. My lawyers will, in due time, file the appropriate motion with the courts," De Lima said in a note from her cell.

De Lima said she is hopeful that her colleagues would back her bid to participate should they convene as an impeachment court that would hear Sereno's case.

The lawmaker, among the administration's fiercest critics, has been detained for more than a year on non-bailable drug charges. 

She has decried the allegations as political persecution and continued to participate in legislative work through filing bills and resolutions while incarcerated. 

Last year, lawyer Larry Gadon filed a complaint seeking Sereno's ouster, accusing her of allegedly committing culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and other high crimes for allegedly failing to disclose her full income before she became chief justice in 2012.

"I am certain that the Senate President, as a leading member of the ruling party, is quite aware that it is absolutely critical that members of the minority, such as myself, are allowed to genuinely and effectively participate in such a sensitive and potentially game-changing event in our nation’s history," De Lima said.

On Wednesday, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III told Senate reporters that De Lima would not be disqualified from impeachment proceedings "just because she is detained."