MANILA- Detained Sen. Leila de Lima will argue before the Supreme Court for the petition of minority senators seeking to declare "invalid or ineffective" the Philippines' withdrawal from the treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC).
De Lima has agreed to be the lead counsel of her Senate colleagues, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said Wednesday.
“She has all the necessary--sabihin na natin experience to be able to defend us and represent us dito sa petisyon na ito,” Pangilinan said.
(She has all the necessary, let's say experience to defend and represent us in this petition.)
Last month, Pangilinan, De Lima, along with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and other opposition Senators Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV filed a petition for certiorari at the high court, arguing that Manila's withdrawal from the ICC should be invalidated for lack of concurrence by the Senate via a two-thirds vote.
The high court scheduled oral arguments on their plea on July 24.
Pangilinan said De Lima would need the Supreme Court's approval to appear in the proceedings given her detention. She has been held at the custodial center in Camp Crame since February last year over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the national penitentiary during her time as Justice Secretary.
"Kailangan lang makuha ang approval ng Korte Suprema. Kailangan kunin dahil nga siya ay currently in the custody of the court dahil nga dito sa pending case na ito,” Pangilinan said.
(We just need the approval of the Supreme Court because she is under the court's custody due to a pending case.)
In March, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC.
Duterte's order came after the international court announced in February that it would begin its preliminary examination into charges of mass murder against him in connection with his controversial anti-narcotics campaign.