CA denies De Lima petition to stop drug raps against her

MANILA — The Court of Appeals (CA) has denied the plea of Senator Leila De Lima for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Department of Justice (DOJ) from acting on the drug trafficking complaints filed against her.

In a three-page decision dated Feb. 10, 2017 but was released to media on Friday, the CA Special Six Division issued a resolution denying De Lima’s plea for the issuance of an injunctive writ (temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction).

”The Court Rules as follows… Denied the prayer for the issuance of an injunctive writ (temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction),” the CA ruled.

The CA ruling was penned by Associate Justice Nina Antonio Valenzuela and concurred in by Associate Justices Romeo Barza and Edwin Sorongon.

The CA opined that De Lima failed to show proof that the requirements for the issuance of a TRO are present which include the requirement that an irreparable injury shall be committed against the accused and the right to be protected exists probable cause.

”Before the injunctive writ is issued, the applicant must show that the following essential requirements are present: the right to be protected exist prima facie; and the acts sought to be enjoined are violative of that right. It must be proven that the violation sought to be prevented would cause an irreparable injury,” the CA said.

”The onus probandi is on the movant to show that the invasion of the right sought to be protected is material and substantial, that the right of the movant is clear and unmistakable, and that there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage,” the appellate court noted.

The CA said that “mere allegations of the existence of the above named requisites, absent proof, cannot be the basis for the issuance of an injunctive writ.”

Aside from this, the CA merely ordered the DOJ to lodge its comment to the petition within a period of 10 days from receipt of the resolution.

Also, De Lima was ordered to file its reply to the comment within 10 days from receipt of the respondent’s comment.

The CA also took note of De Lima’s Urgent Motion to Resolve Application for Provisional Reliefs, and her Supplemental Urgent Motion to Resolve Application for Provisional Reliefs.

In a 46-page petition for prohibition and certiorari with prayers for the issuance of an injunction, De Lima said she decided to seek the intervention of the appellate court due to the numerous violations committed by the DOJ panel of prosecutors that conducted the preliminary investigation that purportedly violated her right to due process.

“On serious jurisdictional questions and strong due process issues, petitioner Leila M. De Lima comes to this Honorable Court asserting her constitutionally and statutorily guaranteed rights against the onslaught of violations committed primarily by the public respondent panel of prosecutors of the Department of Justice handling the preliminary investigation of the cases against her. She humbly invokes the power of this Honorable Court to correct the serious errors of jurisdiction made by the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors, which include but are not limited to, issuing verbal and unrecorded rulings, refusing to put these rulings in writing, denying petitioner‘s right to file her counter-affidavit, and submitting the cases for decision without first resolving petitioner’s motions to endorse the cases to the Office of the Ombudsman in view of lack of jurisdiction of the DOJ, and to inhibit themselves in light of the institutional bias and partiality of the said Department,” De Lima said in her plea.

She said the Office of the Ombudsman has the sole jurisdiction to conduct an investigation on offenses cognizable by the Sandiganbayan.

De Lima said even if she has been accused of violating the Anti-Drugs Law, it has to be determined still if the alleged offenses was committed in relation to her former position as justice secretary.

The lady senator is facing four drug complaints filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC); former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala; high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian; and the NBI.

Last Jan. 30, De Lima filed a second petition before Court of Appeals to stop the DOJ from acting on the criminal complaints filed by NBI against her in connection to the claim of suspected big-time drug lord Kerwin Espinosa that he gave the former DOJ chief PHP8 million to support her senatorial bid in the May 2016 elections. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/