GOVERNMENT lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to junk jailed Sen. Leila de Lima’s petition to overturn drug trafficking charges against her, claiming the petition was “falsified.”
In a seven-page manifestation, the Office of the Solicitor General accused de Lima of falsifying the “jurats” in her petition, or the portions in which she supposedly swore before a notary to affirm the veracity of her statements.
Solicitor General Jose Calida questioned whether de Lima really appeared before a notary in the verification and certification against forum shopping page of her petition before the high court.
The document was notarized by Maria Cecille C. Tresvelles-Cabalo on February 24, 2017, who, like de Lima, is a member of Sen Beda College of Law’s Lambda Rho sorority.
It was physically impossible for Cabalo to sign the petition of de Lima on February 24, as her shadow was not even seen at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) where de Lima is detained.
Proofs include the visitors’ logbook of the jail facility, where the lawyer’s name could not be found, and affidavits of police guards who said they never saw Cabalo enter the detention cell of de Lima to sign such petition.
“It bears to note that the PNP-CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) arrested petitioner on February 24, 2017 at around 8 in the morning. At 8:41 a.m., she arrived at the PNP Headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City for the booking procedure. At 10:18 a.m. she was brought to the Regional Trial Court in Muntinlupa City, Branch 204 for the return of the arrest warrant. Respondent Judge Juanita Guerrero then issued an Order directing the commitment of petitioner to the PNP Custodial Service Unit in Camp Crame. At around 11:30 a.m., petitioner left the Muntinlupa RTC and returned to Camp Crame after 1:00 in the afternoon.”
Falsification is a criminal act under the Revised Penal Code and the lawyers or parties participating therein can be charged with indirect contempt under the Rules of Court. It can also be a ground for disbarment.
“Incidentally, Atty. Tresvalles-Cabalo, a sorority sister of petitioner, was commissioned as a notary public in Quezon City, and as such, she can perform notarial acts only within Quezon City. Consequentially, the only time that petitioner could have personally appeared and sworn before Atty. Tresvalles-Caballo was when petitioner was at Camp Crame since this was the only location that was within Atty. Tresvalles-Caballo’s notarial commission,” it added.
“In light of these, there can be no conclusion other than that petitioner falsified her jurats.”
Contacted for comment. de Lima’s lawyer Florin Hilbay said he has yet to receive a copy of the manifestation.
De Lima wants the high tribunal to nullify her February 23 arrest warrant on drug trading charges. She is also questioning the jurisdiction of the Muntinlupa court.
She claimed that the Office of the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over her case since she was charged on the basis that she used her position as secretary of Justice in relation to the alleged criminal acts, “specifically that she demanded, solicited and extorted money from the [prison]inmates through her alleged intermediaries.”
The senator maintained that there was no iota of proof produced by the Department of Justice linking her to the illegal drug trade. The charge, she said, should have been “direct bribery” under Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code and not a drug trafficking, as there were only allegations of payoffs and no evidence of illegal substances changing hands.