Panamanian official accused of rape can be held liable ‘civilly’—De Lima


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said the Panamanian official accused of raping a Filipina can still be held “civilly liable” despite his diplomatic immunity.

De Lima said Erick Bairnals Shcks, who works as a technical officer at the Panama Maritime Authority here, “can be held civilly liable for his actions outside his official duties.”

The Makati City regional trial court on May 9 dismissed the rape case against Shcks after the court received a certification from the Department of Foreign Affairs that he was covered by diplomatic immunity.

The DoJ chief met the 19-year-old victim at the Department of Justice Thursday.

The victim expressed dismay over the Philippine government’s inability to pursue the criminal case against Shcks.

“Nakakalungkot kasi [It’s said as] we expected them to fight with us and not hide behind some technicality in the legal convention. It’s very distressing,” the victim said.

After reviewing the Vienna Convention of which the Philippines is a signatory, De Lima admitted that the government’s hands were tied in pursuing the criminal case against Shcks unless the Panamanian government waived his diplomatic immunity.

“We were able to confirm with our readings and study of the pertinent provisions of the Vienna convention…wala na kami magagawa [there’s nothing we can do].”

“Diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution also covers those technical and administrative officers in this case, the Panamanian embassy,” De Lima told reporters.

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  • Mister_Expose

    De Lima’s statement” of “can be held liable….. ” is misleading.  It should state ” will be liable….”She is looking for media coverage this early in the game for her senatorial candidacy.  Power corrupts, especially when your brown nosing your boss a lot. Right de Lima? 

  • Rhoel

    If he is liable about the rape. Then, do something about it Secretary DeLima. Enough of your bull-crap!!

  • James Rams

    ms De Lima.-  maybe you know this word” too late’ !!!!!!!   the guy is already gone.. doonlang kayo sa political enemy magaling.. mag bantay..

  • tvnatinto

    yaigs does their diplomatic immunity extend to whatever they do outside the embassy?

  • beerhunters

    Then, what are you waiting for, Delima! JUST DO IT! This crime is a violation of Human Rights which is your field of expertise. Or are you just one of Pnoy’s “attack dogs” that, in retribution, he unleashes against his perceive enemies??

    • maximus_meridius

      Correction please,  I think De Lima is not one of Abnoy’s attack dogs but rather his “attack pig”.

  • pepengkabayo

    “Panamanian official accused of rape can be held liable CIVILLY—De Lima”

    As far as I know civil case depends on the outcome of criminal case, as they say “Prejudicial question”
    If there is no rape, no crime committed, then there is no civil case.
    “Can be held civilly”…what do you mean by that statement.
    As a DOJ secretary, could your wordings be more pleasant to the ears.

    • beerhunters

      does she mean “civilly=civility?” if this is what she meant then she is on the side of the panamian

    • panhase

      Civil cases do not depend on the outcome of criminal cases. Don´t knw where u got this notion from but it is wrong.
      Do you remember the O.J. Simpson murder case? In the criminal trial he got a verdict of not guilty. However in the civil case he was held liable for damages in the wrongful death of Goldman.
      Civil and criminal cases are 2 different things and don´t need 2 be connected.

      • pepengkabayo

        I know.
        In OJ case, there was criminal case and went into trial.
        Though acquitted, he was charged in civil case with same evidence.
        In Panamian case, there was no trial, no crime.

      • Jobert Moreno

         There are 2 kinds of civil case. one arising from crime though one may file a separate and distinct charge and two is from contract.In former if filed separate then it is independent from crime.
        The thing I think Sec. De Lima committed a blunder  with her stand as a lawyer. I’m not a lawyer but look, if such is the case it is wrong to say “no one is above the law”. What is that!!, they are free to violate Philippine criminal laws? Granting EBS is covered by immunity from suit, are there no qualification? not studying the matter extensively, as far as I know immunity can only invoke in cases while the person is engaged in the performance of official duty or relative to such performance. Rape is not part of any diplomatic personalities as official duty. What’s wrong Sec de Lima you let the criminal go!!

  • maximus_meridius

    Stupid comment and opinion coming from the stupid DOJ secretary.. The case was a “criminal” case and not a civil case.  Why make such statement?  Ibig lang sabihin nyan ay pinakawalan mo ng criminal liability yung Panamanian na yan at di mo lang masabi diretso sa public.  ang tapang mo mag suway ng mga utos ng Supreme Court pero pag dating sa kasong to, para kang tamemeng baboy!

  • rb7oiralih

    Ang tapang mo (de Lima) sa mga kapwa mo pinoy pagdating sa foreigner hindi mo man lang kayang ipagtanggol ang kawawang kababayan natin na dinungisan ang puri.Uulit-ulitin pa yan ng mga dayuhan kapag ganyan ang gobyerno natin.UMALIS KA NA NGA DYAN SA PWESTO MO, WALA KANG SILBI!! Pwee!

  • tvnatinto

    if the law is such then shouldnt it be changed

  • KpTUL

    It seems de lima really knows the law well or does she?
    Her job as a DOJ is very overwhelming.
    She should become a SC justice–tempting !
    But then, being able to switch one’s computer “on” does not make one a comptuter engineer :)

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