Leila de Lima

De Lima unfazed as court junks drug case appeal

Aika Rey
De Lima unfazed as court junks drug case appeal

DRUG CASES. Senator Leila de Lima, clad in personal protective equipment, attends her hearing for one of her two pending drug cases at the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court on February 23, 2021.

File photo from De Lima's office

'I want not just to be released from this most unjust detention, but to be unequivocally and categorically declared innocent,' says Senator Leila de Lima

Detained Senator Leila de Lima said she was more determined to prove her innocence as a Muntinlupa court dismissed her 2nd drug case appeal.

“As I said, it’s still a long haul for me. Prolonged persecution. Delayed justice. Delayed vindication. But I shall not stop for fighting for truth and freedom because I want not just to be released from this most unjust detention, but to be unequivocally and categorically declared innocent,” said De Lima.

On Friday, March 5, Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 upheld its earlier ruling denying De Lima’s motion for bail and demurrer to evidence in Case Number 17-165 due to lack of merit.

A demurrer is a plea to dismiss a case on the basis of weak evidence.

The same judge, Muntinlupa RTC Judge Liezel Aquiatan, had acquitted De Lima in Case Number 17-166.

De Lima’s counsel Rolly Peoro said that the discussion in the order made it appear that only the prosecution presented evidence.

De Lima is accused of allegedly extorting money from Bilibid inmates to fund her senatorial bid in 2016.

“Marami pa tayong mga points na ni-raise na hindi naisama. Nasabi natin kung naisama lang yun, ang ilalaman ng lahat ng mga testigo ay inosente si Senator Leila de Lima,” said Peoro.

(We have raised a lot of points that we’re not included. If those were considered, the witnesses would point to Senator Leila de Lima’s innocence.)

The opposition senator called this “cherry-picking” of the judge, as she devoted 20 pages of the 35-paged ruling “summarizing the prosecution’s narrative without ever addressing or citing the information elicited during the witness’ testimonies that contradicted such narrative”

“Had the prosecution exerted real effort to read the motion for reconsideration, the prosecution would easily know that the said motion raised new critical insights on how the Honorable Court missed out and overlooked important details in its omnibus order,” said De Lima in her reply to the prosecution’s opposition to her appeal.

De Lima added that the prosecution failed to prove the charge of conspiracy as the testimonies of its witnesses “bolster her innocence.”

The denied plea in Case Number 17-165 means the defense will have to move to its presentation of evidence. The hearing was reset to March 26 and April 16.

In Case Number 17-165, De Lima’s co-accused is her bodyguard Ronnie Dayan. He was supposed to take the witness stand but the prosecution opposed it.

The 3rd case against De Lima is pending before another court. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.