The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered Sen. Leila de Lima and the Office of the Solicitor General to submit their respective memoranda on the issue of whether President Rodrigo Duterte is immune from suit.
“It is noted that the issue of immunity of the President from suit is a prejudicial question to be first resolved before the court decides whether to require him to comment or not pursuant to the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data,” high court spokesman Theodore Te said.
De Lima on Monday asked the Supreme Court to issue a writ of habeas data against Duterte.
The senator said her petition was a “test case” and the “first in a series of legal offensives” against Duterte, whom she accused of linking her to illegal drug trade and engaging in illicit affairs.
The 1987 Constitution does not provide specific provisions on the immunity from suit of an incumbent President. However, the bases for the immunity are found in the jurisprudence of the Philippines under Article 8 of the Civil Code which is deemed part of the law of the land.
In 2008, the SC adopted the Writ of Habeas Data as a “remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party.”