JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday downplayed the petition for habeas data recently filed by Senator Leila de Lima that challenged the immunity from suit of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In an interview, Aguirre said the petition was just a scrap of paper and will go to the waste bin.
“The petition will go straight to the waste basket. How could you stop the government authorities from investigating with no less than 10 individuals who said you are the protector of the drug trade?
“Can you imagine the Supreme Court telling the police, the President and the Department of Justice to stop investigating a person with several cases already? I don’t think so,” Aguirre added.
De Lima filed a petition for the issuance of habeas data seeking to enjoin President Duterte from collecting and disclosing information about her private life that tend to “malign her and degrade her dignity as human being.”
In a 22-page petition, De Lima through her lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno also asked the Court to compel Duterte to disclose the sources of his information about her private affairs as well as the destruction of such data.
The petitioner also asked the Court to order Duterte to disclose to her the name of the foreign country, who according to the latter, “helped him” listen in on her.
Diokno argued that Duterte’s personal attacks on De Lima, which involve the collection and publication of her alleged private affairs and activities is tantamount to gender discrimination and constitute psychological violence which is prohibited by Republic Act Mp. 9170, otherwise, known as the Magna Carta of Women.
President Duterte had accused De Lima of having a relationship with her driver, whom he also linked to the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa.
Diokno said Duterte cannot invoke presidential immunity from suit considering that his verbal attacks on De Lima are not considered official acts of a President.
“The crude remarks, slut-shaming and threats that President Duterte has made about petitioner, and his prying into her private life and alleged private affairs have endangered her life, liberty and security,” the petition read.
“They constitute unlawful, unofficial conduct that has nothing to do with the President’s duties and responsibilities,” the petitioner said.