MANILA - The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to allow detained Senator Leila de Lima join the oral arguments about a petition that seeks to invalidate the Philippines' withdrawal from the treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC).
High court spokesperson Ted Te said only acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza voted in favor of allowing De Lima to argue in the ICC withdrawal case.
Te said the court did not find any compelling reason to allow De Lima to join the debates on the ICC pullout case.
"Her capacity to represent herself must yield to fundamental restrictions on her liberty borne by her current detention on drug charges," he added.
Minority senators who filed the petition had said they wanted De Lima to argue their case to due to her experience as a justice chief. She is also a known human rights lawyer, having headed the Commission on Human Rights in the past, they added.
Among the senators who wanted De Lima, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, to join the oral arguments set on August 14 were Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV.
President Duterte in March ordered the country's withdrawal from the Rome Statute after the ICC announced that it would initiate a preliminary examination into charges of mass murder against him in connection with his war against drugs.
However, the opposition senators insisted that Manila's withdrawal from the treaty that created the ICC, which was initiated by the executive branch, should be invalidated for lack of concurrence by the Senate via a two-thirds vote.--report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News