Thank you, Mister Vice-President. 

The Philippines thanks the Working Group for the presentation of its report.

With reference to the Philippines on the case of Ms. Leila de Lima, we wish to share the following facts of the case:

Four (4) complaints were filed with the Department of Justice, three of which were by private actors. These four (4) cases were consolidated and a panel of prosecutors conducted preliminary investigation.

On 17 February 2017, three (3) Informations were filed before the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City against Senator Leila De Lima and several co-accused for violation of Sections of the Republic Act No. 9165 (RA 9165) or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Senator Leila de Lima’s detention on 24 February 2017 was made pursuant to a Warrant of Arrest issued against her and her co-accused by the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City. A Warrant of Arrest was also issued for two other criminal cases. These three (3) cases are pending before said courts.

As such, Senator de Lima is lawfully detained pending trial. She has the full opportunity to be heard, disprove the accusations against her and present her arguments in court as part of the right to due process guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution.

Under Sec. 1, Article VIII of the Philippine Constitution, judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. The judiciary has jurisdiction over all issues of a judicial nature and respect for the rule of law requires that the judicial process be free from interference, improper influence, inducement or pressure, whether direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

The three (3) cases against Senator de Lima are sub judice and thus, it would be improper for any person, including the Philippine government, to make statements which would prejudge, influence or interfere with the court’s proper, independent handling of the proceeding.

It is also improper to intervene with regard to her detention—and more so with regard to the prosecution of said cases—in light of concerns for the independence and impartiality of the judicial process which applies to all citizens.

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President. END.