De Lima wants inmate witnesses to be her co-accused in drug case

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
De Lima wants inmate witnesses to be her co-accused in drug case
Sen. Leila De Lima leaves the New Bilibid Prison court in Muntinlupa City on the afternoon March 6, 2018. Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Presiding Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz has reset the trial until March 20.
Office of Secretary Leila de Lima / Release

MANILA, Philippines — Detained Sen. Leila de Lima asked the Muntinlupa court to include convict witnesses who implicated her as her co-accused in the government's drug case against her.

In a motion filed last week, De Lima asked Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 to include the following prosecution witnesses as accused:

  • Herbert Colanggo
  • Engelberto Durano
  • Noel Martinez
  • Reynante Diaz
  • Jaime Patcho
  • German Agojo
  • Hans Antonio Tan
  • Peter Co   
  • Joel Capones
  • Vicente Sy
  • Rodolfo Magleo
  • Jojo Baligad
  • Froilan Trestiza

“These witnesses are not mere eyewitnesses of the alleged transactions inside Bilibid but rather the major players and perpetrators of the illegal drug trading,” the motion, made public only on Thursday, read.

De Lima is facing three cases before Muntinlupa courts. She is facing three counts of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading for allegedly having a hand in the proliferation of the narcotics trade inside the national penintentiary during her stint as justice secretary.

“The prosecution should have included first the witnesses and let the courts decide on the issue of their exclusion especially so that the said witnesses appear to be the guiltiest of the charges,” De Lima’s latest motion read.

“They are in fact the ‘inmates of the [New] Bilibid Prison’ being referred to in the Information who allegedly sold and traded dangerous drugs by means of mobile phones and other electronic devices, without being authorized by law,” she also said.

De Lima has earlier moved for the disqualification of the above-named witnesses, arguing that witnesses convicted of crimes “with moral turpitude” goes against the law on state witnesses.

READ: De Lima sues Guevarra, Aguirre over 'illegal' admission of inmates to WPP | Guevarra, De Lima tussle over ‘state witness’ definition

Lawyer Filibon Tacardon, De Lima’s counsel, said that their motion remains pending before the court.

Authorities arrested De Lima in February 2017 and the senator has since been detained at Camp Crame. 

Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 Presiding Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz set the next trial on the case on March 20.

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