De Lima appeals SC ruling over Duterte’s verbal attacks


Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today filed a motion asking the Supreme Court (SC) to reconsider its earlier resolution dismissing her habeas data petition which seeks to protect herself from President Duterte’s continued threats and verbal attacks.

In the Motion for Reconsideration filed on her behalf by her counsel, Atty. Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, De Lima asked the High Court to reconsider its Oct. 15 resolution which has unduly broadened the scope of presidential immunity to acts that have nothing to do with presidential powers, duties, and responsibilities.

She principally argued that the Resolution “has twisted the doctrine of presidential immunity out of all sense of meaning”.

“[T]he Resolution has twisted the doctrine of presidential immunity into a grotesque version of itself, inoculated the President from accountability for egregious conduct, and placed an insurmountable barrier to the search for truth and the vindication of basic rights,” she said in her 20-page resolution.

Last Oct. 15, the SC issued an en banc resolution dismissing De Lima’s habeas data petition, a legal remedy she sought to protect her from Mr. Duterte’s continued threats and verbal attacks against her as a human being, a woman, and a senator, 

It dismissed De Lima’s petition on the ground that Mr. Duterte is immune from any criminal, civil and administrative suit during his presidency which expires on June 2020. The SC”s resolution was only made public last Jan. 22.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, also pointed out that the Resolution has given President Duterte a “blanket license to slut-shame, discriminate, insult, offend, and bad-mouth her womanhood and assassinate her character and dignity.”

“The Resolution gives President Duterte untrammeled and unbridled power to slut-shame, discriminate, insult, offend and bad-mouth the petitioner for as long as he sits on his presidential throne,” she said.

The lady Senator from Bicol cited, for instance, that Mr. Duterte has once again resumed his verbal attacks against her during his speech on the occasion of the Ceremonial Distribution of Benefits to Former Rebels in San Isidro, Leyte, last Jan. 23, or the day after the release of the SC Resolution.

“The Resolution also gives President Duterte unchecked power to do the same to any other woman who tickles his fancy – and whoever becomes his next target will have no legal remedy at all to stop him as long as he occupies the highest position in the land.  His next target could be anyone even someone we know or someone to whom we are close to or related,” she pointed out.

In her habeas data petition, De Lima has recalled how Mr. Duterte admitted his personal grudge against her way back when she was chair of the Commission on Human Rights investigating his link with the dreaded Davao Death Squad.

Such personal and oftentimes sexist tirades against her escalate when she opened a Senate investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions in the administration’s all-out war on drugs, she noted.

According to her, President Duterte’s continued verbal attacks and threats also deprives her of an effective remedy in violation of her rights guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

“It is not disputed that petitioner is the victim of slut-shaming, discrimination as a woman, and psychological violence perpetrated by the highest executive official of our government,” she said.

“It is not disputed that President Duterte gathered information about petition’s private life – including, by his own admission, information from a foreign government – and broadcast it to the entire nation,” she added.

De Lima, however, maintained that these acts clearly involve the wrongful collection and publication of her alleged private affairs, which she argued constitute unlawful interference with her privacy and unlawful attacks on her honor and reputation.

She said the SC’s resolution violates the ICCPR which imposes a duty on the Philippine government to provide victims of gross human rights violations with the right to an effective, prompt and adequate remedy. (30)

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
Rm. 502 & 16 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City

Trunk Lines:
(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

Direct Lines:
807-8489 / (Rm. 16) 807-8580 /local 8619

© 2019 Office of Sen. Leila de Lima. All rights reserved.