Supreme Court to resume oral arguments on De Lima petition

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Supreme Court resumes on Tuesday its hearing of oral arguments on Senator Leila De Lima's petition to dismiss the arrest warrant on her for illegal drug charges. 

Five more justices, led by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, are scheduled to  interpellate De Lima's counsel, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay.

Solicitor General Jose Calida is expected to be in the hearing, where he will persuade the High Court to dismiss De Lima's petition.

In the first round of oral arguments on March 14, Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Marvic Leonen, and Presbitero Velasco Jr. grilled De Lima's legal team on why the petition was raised to the High Court when the matter remains pending in the lower court.

Related: Why go straight to SC? Justices grill ex-SolGen on De Lima's legal strategy

Associate Justice Peralta said the senator's counsel may have resorted to "forum shopping" because they filed similar petitions before the Supreme Court and the lower court.

De Lima, a long-time critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, faces three illegal drug cases at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branches 204, 205, and 206.

Branch 206 Judge Juanita Guerrero issued an arrest warrant for De Lima on February 23 despite a pending motion to quash the charges.

De Lima's lawyer, Hilbay, argued that Guerrero committed grave abuse of discretion, saying that the arrest warrant was premature.

Related: Government 'doesn't have a case' against Senator De Lima - ex-SolGen

He also added that there was a lack of concrete evidence that directly implicated De Lima to the drug trade.

De Lima has been detained without bail at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center since February 24.

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