Petitioners want ICC hearing reset

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Six senators yesterday petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) to reset the oral arguments on their move to invalidate the government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The four-page motion was submitted to the high court by Sens. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Antonio Trillanes IV, Leila de Lima and Riza Hontiveros.

The petitioners asked the SC to defer the oral arguments from 14 to 28 August. They said they have yet to get a copy of the SC en banc decision junking de Lima’s bid to personally argue the case.

The senators averred that through de Lima they’ve requested a copy of the resolution from the Office of the Clerk of Court, but they were informed that such resolution is not yet available.

The lawmakers said they would also appeal the resolution the moment they receive an official copy from the SC.

Solons insist on De Lima

Likewise, the senators appeared unprepared for the 14 August schedule as they are still without a lawyer with the insistence that De Lima will speak on their behalf, a move seen by some quarters as an attempt to “weaponize” the detained senator.

If the SC would grant the senators’ motion, it would be the second time that the oral arguments on the issue would be deferred.

The SC originally set the oral arguments on 7 August but then moved it to 14 August.
In dismissing de Lima’s plea, the SC said it found no compelling reason to have her to personally appear during the conduct of oral arguments.

No compelling reason

The Court noted that the senator, currently detained at the Philippine National Police-Custodial Center due to illegal drug charges, failed to raise circumstances or competencies exclusive to her that would make her appearance necessary.

The senator is accused of benefitting from the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa during her term as justice secretary.

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