Detained De Lima seeks SC go signal to argue vs PH withdrawal from ICC

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 27 2018 12:33 PM

Court sets oral arguments on Aug. 7

MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila De Lima has asked the Supreme Court to allow her to argue for a petition seeking to nullify the Philippines' withdrawal from a treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Minority senators, including De Lima, had filed the petition before the high court, asserting that the executive branch's withdrawal from the ICC should be invalidated for lack of concurrence by the Senate through a two-thirds vote.

In a 4-page motion, De Lima noted that senators and members of the House of Representatives are only barred from appearing before any court if they are acting as counsel in a case.

The Rules of Court, she said, "expressly allow a litigant to personally prosecute his or her case."

De Lima, who has been detained on drug charges since February 2017, asked the high court to consider cases where it permitted members of Congress to argue their cases.

She cited as an example Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who appeared as petitioner during the oral arguments for a plea questioning the second extension of martial law in Mindanao.

"Considering the foregoing, Senator De Lima manifests her utmost intent to personally appear before the Supreme Court in her capacity as one of the Petitioners in this case," read her motion filed Monday.

In a June 19 resolution, the high court required the Office of the Solicitor General to comment on a separate petition against the ICC withdrawal filed by the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC).

The plea, filed by the group composed of individuals and corporate entities that campaigned for the Philippines to become a state party to the Rome Statute, said President Rodrigo Duterte “gravely abused his discretion" in unilaterally withdrawing from the treaty.

The high court ordered the case consolidated with the earlier petition filed by minority senators.

The court also set oral arguments on the cases on August 7.

President Rodrigo Duterte in March ordered the country's withdrawal from the Rome Statute, which created the ICC. This after the court announced that it would initiate preliminary examination into charges of mass murder against Duterte in connection with his controversial anti-narcotics drive.

De Lima, a fierce critic of the campaign, has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame for more than a year now over allegations that she accepted drug money from detained crime lords when she was still justice secretary. She has rejected the drug allegations against her, saying these were politically motivated.