De Lima files petition vs. Duterte at Supreme Court

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Sen. Leila de Lima on Monday filed a petition against President Rodrigo Duterte before the Supreme Court.

De Lima’s petition cites the writ of habeas data, a remedy “available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty, or security is violated.”

The senator first met women supporters at a restaurant near the SC compound, where she initially was supposed to hold a press conference.

“Enough is enough,” she said.

More cases to follow

De Lima and her supporters then walked to the SC.

In a press conference after the filing of the case, De Lima noted that her petition is a “novel case” given that the habeas data is rarely used in court.

She said this is “the first of a series of legal offensives” she will file against Duterte. De Lima said the cases would stand as a test against Duterte’s presidential immunity.

The senator added she is doing this because of the attacks that Duterte has launched against her as a person and as a woman.

“Nakasaad po sa petition namin ‘yung ilan-ilan na okasyon na nagmumura at kung anu-ano po ‘yung sinasabi niya tungkol sa aking pagkababae na wala hong kinalaman sa kaniyang posisyon bilang Pangulo,” she said. “Na sobra po ang binibitawan niya na mga salita. Na nagpapababa, na binabastos ang aking pagkatao, ang aking pagkababae, gawa nga ng kaniyang personal vendetta laban sa akin.”

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She added: “This is a test case, this is a novel case of transcendental importance. Ang pinakatanong dito, pwede bang ang isang nakaupong Pangulo ay gamitin ang kaniyang opisina, ang kaniyang kapangyarihan bilang Pangulo para magsagawa ng isang personal vendetta laban sa isang tao, laban sa isang babae sa pamamagitan ng ilegal na pangongolekta ng impormasyon tungkol sa pribadong buhay ng isang babae na ‘yan.”

“‘Yong babae na ‘yan… ako po ang babae na ‘yan, ako po ang public official na ‘yan na non-stop po ‘yung mga panglalait po sa akin ng Pangulo,” she went on.

De Lima said the verbal attacks on her person are not covered by presidential immunity from suit because they are not the official acts of a President.

“They constitute unlawful, unofficial conduct that have nothing to with the President’s duties and responsibilities,” the petition read.

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Duterte’s grudge against her dates back to the time when she investigated the former Davao City mayor for his links to the vigilante group Davao Death Squad when she was Commission on Human Rights chairperson.

“Since petitioner’s (De Lima) right to privacy in life, liberty or security have been violated and continue to be threatened by the President’s unlawful attacks on her womanhood and dignity as a person, she has no other recourse but to seek relief from this Honorable Court in the form of a writ of habeas data,” the petition stated.

De Lima’s camp said her submission includes a compact disc containing video and audio recordings of Duterte’s personal verbal attacks against her in public.

She also submitted an assessment report made by a “respectable psychologist specializing in women’s concerns,” which details the psychological effect “inflicted” by Duterte’s attacks.

The senator said these attacks “blatantly violated” the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials (R.A. No. 6713) and the Magna Carta for Women (R.A. No. 9710).

Private conversations

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De Lima is asking the SC to stop Duterte “and his men from gathering personal information about her private life.”

She also asked the Court to order the President “to identify the foreign country that helped him listen to her private conversation” and the means he used to listen to it.

She also asked that private information “illegally obtained” about her be “deleted, destroyed, or rectified.”

The senator said she is also asking the Supreme Court “to bar the President and his men from making public statements that “malign” her as a woman and a person, notably references or discrimination against her sexuality.

The petition also included “a long list of samples of hate messages” she has received, particularly on social media.

“His (Duterte) personal tirades against the petitioner (De Lima) have also whipped up his supporters into a frenzy of hate directed against her such that she has received thousands of hate messages from them both in her cellular phone via text messages and in her social media account,” the petition stated.

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