The camp of Senator Leila de Lima insisted on Tuesday that the petition she filed at the Supreme Court that seeks the dismissal of the drug charges lodged against her was not falsified.
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, the senator’s legal counsel, branded as false the claim of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) that the petition was defective.
The OSG had asked the high court to junk de Lima’s petition because she falsified the “jurats”, the portion in the petition which the senator supposedly swore before a notary.
The OSG claimed that the petition was notarized by Maria Cecille C. Tresvelles-Cabalo on February 24, 2017. However, it said Cabalo was not among the persons seen at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) where de Lima is detained.
“The way the case is being framed is a fight between procedural technicalities and substantive questions. What we would like of course for the court to do is to focus on the real issues on this case,” Hilbay said in a news briefing.
In a statement released to the media, De Lima said she met with Cabalo in Camp Crame, the headquarters of the police.
She added that the attacks against her by the OSG were “borne out of desperation.”
Hilbay argued that since De Lima was a government official during the alleged commission of the crime, the complaint should have been filed at the Office of the Ombudsman not at a regular trial court (RTC).
“Those are the real questions here. Even if we go back to the RTC, we’re going to end up in the SC anyway. We’re already here. We’re asking the court to decide on substantive issues,” he said.
But Solicitor General Jose Calida said criminal and administrative charges will be filed against de Lima and Cabalo.
“We will file criminal cases and administrative cases against De Lima and the notary public,” Calida told reporters at the sidelines of the SC oral arguments on the senator’s petition to quash the arrest warrant issued against her by a Muntinlupa court.
“Falsification [charges will be filed against De Lima and her lawyer]under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Cod,” he added.
Calida said the senator must have been hallucinating when she said that she met with the lawyer who notarized her petition.
“She must be imagining things. It must be the spirit of the lawyer since I have the affidavits that the notary public did not go to Camp Crame,” he added.
WITH WILLIAM DEPASUPIL