Manila, Philippines: A Philippine senator and leading critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly crackdown on illegal drugs petitioned the Supreme Court Monday to nullify a Manila court's arrest warrant against her for drug charges and release her from jail.
Sen. Leila de Lima's petition said Judge Juanita Guerrero has no jurisdiction over the case. She said Guerrero committed grave abuse by issuing the arrest warrant without first resolving her motion to quash the charges, where she questioned the jurisdiction of the lower court.
"The issuance of a warrant of arrest by a court that has no jurisdiction over the case makes such a warrant obviously and patently null and without basis, thus making Senator De Lima's detention on the basis thereof illegal," said her lawyer, Alex Padilla.
De Lima said she was innocent of the charges of receiving bribes from detained drug lords while she headed the Department of Justice, adding that the accusations were part of an attempt by Duterte to muzzle critics of his clampdown that has left more than 7,000 suspected dealers and small-time users dead.
Her lawyers said the charges should have been brought before the ombudsman who investigates cases against public officials, not the Department of Justice, which has an "institutional bias" against her.
The case also should have been filed before a special court which has jurisdiction over cases committed by public officers and employees, and not Guerrero's court, her lawyers said.