Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Monday said he will not oppose detained former senator Leila de Lima from filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus before the courts for her release.
“We will not object. I am not objecting personally to any plea that will free anybody from jail,” Remulla said.
The writ of habeas corpus is a legal remedy against arbitrary or illegal detention.
According to Remulla, the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus “is a power left to the judges to decide and even to the higher courts if need be if they want to go to the higher courts.”
“If they wish to petition for habeas corpus, so be it. It is their right after all as a citizen detained to ask the courts why she is detained and for the courts to decide or not a grant of liberty is appropriate under the circumstances,” he said.
The possibility of De Lima’s filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus surfaced after the Supreme Court granted the plea of lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, former chief of staff of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, for her release from detention.
Before her release last January, Reyes had been detained since 2014 on criminal charges pending before the Sandiganbayan.
In the case of De Lima, the former senator has been detained since 2017 at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
She was charged criminally before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) under Criminal Case Nos. 17-165 and 17-167 for her alleged involvement in the proliferation of the illegal drugs trading at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
She was arrested on Feb. 24, 2017 and thereafter detained.