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Answer motion of De Lima, SC tells SolGen.

The Supreme Court has asked Solicitor General Jose Calida to respond to the motion of Sen. Leila de Lima seeking clarification on whether President Duterte's immunity from suit applies in a writ of habeas data.

In a press conference on Tuesday, spokesperson Theodore Te said the court had asked Calida to respond within 10 days to De Lima's newest


Te stressed that Calida would respond 'not necessarily as counsel for the President who has not been asked to respond to De Lima's petition.'

On Nov. 7, De Lima filed a petition seeking the issuance of the writ to stop the President from snooping on her private communication and using alleged illegally obtained information to destroy her reputation as a public servant and a woman.

She said that her petition was meant to test the President's immunity from suit. She argued that the President could not use this as a shield to destroy another person.

Motion for clarification

On Nov. 22, Calida asked the court to dismiss the petition, declaring that the President's immunity from suit was absolute.

On Nov. 25, De Lima filed a motion for clarification, asking the court to determine whether a presidential immunity constituted a prejudicial question that should be decided first before the issuance of her request for the writ.

De Lima argued that it would be 'premature' for

the court to consider presidential immunity in the case when the President had not yet invoked it.

'It cannot be simply assumed that he will invoke it since the privilege of presidential immunity belongs solely to him and is exclusively his prerogative. Presidential immunity does not automatically apply whenever a President is sued. Its application in every case requires a balancing of interests,' De Lima said.

In a separate memorandum, De Lima also asked the court to immediately grant her appeal for the writ of habeas data while deferring its ruling on his presidential immunity until he actually invoked it.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 30, 2016
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