VOTING 9-6, the Supreme Court junked the petition of detained Sen. Leila de Lima questioning the legality of her arrest over charges linking her to the illegal drugs trade.
De Lima, a vocal critic of President Duterte, consequently will remain behind bars at the Camp Crame Custodial Center.
Also, this gave the three branches of the Muntinlupa RTC the go-ahead to proceed with the hearings.
Furthermore, government prosecutors under Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, and not the Office of the Ombudsman will prosecute De Lima.
In its ruling, the SC said that the Muntinlupa regional trial court, which issued the arrest warrants against De Lima, has the jurisdiction to try and handle her cases, and not the Sandiganbayan.
Those who voted against De Lima were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes and Alexander Gesmundo.
On the other hand, those who voted in favor of granting De Lima’s petition were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Estela Perlas Bernabe, Francis Jardeleza, Marvic Leonen, and Benjamin Caguioa.
De Lima was accused of allegedly receiving money from drug convicts inside the New Bilibid Prisons in exchange for protection. The money, the convicts said, was intended to fund De Lima’s senatorial bid in 2016.
The convicts also claimed De Lima was involved in the proliferation of the drug trade inside the national penitentiary.