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MANILA, Philippines - The Integrated Bar of the Philippines has denied Justice Secretary Leila De Lima's motion to summarily dismiss the disbarment case filed against her.
In a resolution, the IBP Board of Governors denied De Lima's motion and ordered the IBP Investigating Commissioner to conduct a formal investigation of the disbarment complaints against the DOJ Secretary.
The IBP resolution said: "The IBP Board of Governors hereby resolves to disapprove and reverse the resolution and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner for the summary dismissal, without formal investigation or further proceedings of the consolidated disbarment case against Leila De Lima.
"Accordingly, the Investigating Commissioner is directed to proceed with the required formal investigation of the disbarment case against respondent [De Lima] in accordance with the Rules and resolve them with dispatch."
It added: "The relief of summary dismissal without further investigation becomes unavailing because the Supreme Court, in referring the case to the IBP for investigation, is presumed to have already made a preliminary determination that there is basis to proceed with formal investigation. Otherwise, the Supreme Court would have summarily dismissed the case."
The IBP Board explained the Supreme Court's referral of the disbarment complaint to it was done after De Lima responded to the complaint.
"The action of the Supreme Court in referring to summarily dismiss the disbarment cases leaves no valid option for the IBP but to conduct the required investigation pursuant to cited jurisprudential rules," it said.
The complaints against De Lima were filed separately by Ricardo Rivera and Fernando Perito, Nephtali Aliposa, both about De Lima's alleged defiance in following a Supreme Court temporary restraining order issued on Nov. 15, 2011 when she stopped former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo.
De Lima, a nominee for the post of Chief Justice, sought a summary dismissal of the disbarment case filed against her.
The Judicial and Bar Council gave De Lima a period of until Aug. 2, 2012 within which to submit a clearance that she no longer has a pending case.
Under the rules of the JBC, particularly Rule 4 Section 5 provides that those disqualified from being nominated or appointed to any judicial, Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman position include:
-- those with pending criminal or regular administrative cases;
-- those with pending criminal cases in foreign courts or tribunals; and
-- those who have been convicted in any criminal case or in an administrative case where the penalty imposed is at least a fine of more than P10,000.00 unless he has been granted judicial clemency.