The Supreme Court yesterday decided to resolve first whether or not President Duterte is immune from suit during his six-year tenure before it acts on the case filed by Sen. Leila M. de Lima against him.
In a resolution, the SC directed De Lima and the Office of the Solicitor General to submit their memoranda in 10 days on the immunity from suit of the President.
“Without necessarily giving due course to the petition, the petitioner (De Lima) and the OSG are directed to submit their respective memorandum on the issue of whether the President of the Republic of the Philippines, as the sole respondent in this case, is immune from suit, including this one, within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice,” the SC said.
Quoting from the text of the resolution, lawyer Theodore O. Te, head of the SC Public Information Office, said:
“It is noted that the issue of immunity of the President from suit is a prejudicial question to be first resolved before the Court decides whether to require him to comment or not pursuant to the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data.”
Last Monday, De Lima filed a petition for a Writ of Habeas Data and asked the SC to stop the President’s “crude personal attacks” against her and the “wrongful collection and publication” of her alleged private affairs and activities “that are outside of the realm of legitimate public concern.” (Rey G. Panaligan)