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OSG files petition for certiorari vs. De Lima acquittal

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has filed a petition before the Court of Appeals (CA) against the acquittal of detained former senator Leila de Lima in one of her drug cases.

In a message to GMA News Online Monday, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra confirmed that they filed a petition for certiorari against the decision of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204 to junk De Lima’s second case.

“Yes, the OSG filed a petition for certiorari, not an appeal, with the CA on September 4, 2023 on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess jurisdiction on the part of the trial court judge,” he said.

In an interview held earlier, Atty. Filibon Tacardon, De Lima’s legal counsel, said the Department of Justice (DOJ) cannot appeal an acquittal.

“I heard this afternoon na the DOJ panel of prosecutors appealed the decision rendered by Judge Alcantara doon criminal case 165. Honestly hindi ko pa nababasa yung appeal nila (I have yet to read their appeal),” Tacardon said in a separate interview.

“It’s a petition for certiorari. Pero ang immediate reaction namin (But our immediate reaction) is senator Leila was already acquitted in that case and therefore, the DOJ cannot appeal a decision of acquittal,” he added.

However, Guevarra stressed that the OSG did not file an appeal.

“It is not an appeal which deals with errors of judgment. It is a petition for certiorari which deals with errors of jurisdiction, rendering the judgment void,” he said.

Tacardon had attended the resumption of the hearing on De Lima’s remaining drug case at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206.

De Lima’s first acquittal came in February 2021 when the Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 205 junked one of her three cases.

On May 12, De Lima and Ronnie Dayan, her co-accused and former bodyguard, were acquitted by the Muntinlupa court of an illegal drug trading charge on the ground of reasonable doubt.

De Lima has been detained in Camp Crame since February 2017 over drug allegations. She has repeatedly denied the allegations against her.—AOL, GMA Integrated News