Muntinlupa RTC allows medical furlough for De Lima â counsel
Sen. Leila de Lima attends a court hearing for the first time in a year on the drug charges she has faced for nearly four years now
Released/Sen. Leila de Lima's office

Muntinlupa RTC allows medical furlough for De Lima — counsel

(Philstar.com) - February 9, 2021 - 9:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — A Muntinlupa court has granted a 24-hour medical furlough to Sen. Leila de Lima, an outspoken critic of the Duterte administration who has been in detention for nearly four years on drug charges she is trying to get dismissed for alleged lack of evidence.

No court document has so far been made public, but lawyer Rolly Peoro, de Lima's counsel, said Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court's Branch 256 allowed the request for medical checkups on de Lima, who is already 61.

"Kami'y nagpapasalamat sa ating mga korte na pinayagan kami," he told reporters. "Matagal na ho ito na..in 2018 [or] 2019 pa. Na-delay lang ng na-delay dahil sa pandemic."

(We thank the court for allowing us this furlough. We have been seeking this as early as 2018 or 2019, but this was only delayed due to the pandemic.)

De Lima has been in detention since February 2017 on drug-related cases that she says are politically-motivated.

In today's hearing which she physically attended, Peoro said Bilibid convict Noel Martinez was cross examined on his testimony that de Lima was involved in drug trading operations at the country's national penitentiary.

"Sinabi niya na una, wala siyang personal knowledge sa mga drug transactions," the counsel said. "Wala rin daw silang personal involvement sa kahit anong drug transaction...so kung ito ay conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading, wala siyang alam daw sa mga ['yan.]"

(He said he had no personal knowledge on the drug transactions. He also had no personal involvement..so if this is conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading, he does not know anything about it.)

Peoro said the crucial outcome of the cross examination could stand to weaken the prosecution's claim that the senator was involved in the said crime.

The lawmaker's camp in January sought the dismissal of the second in the three drug charges she is facing, filing a demurrer before the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 but no progress was so far reported. 

"Nananalangin kami na sana pakinggan 'yung aming mga naisulat doon na sinasabi namin walang conspiracy, walang droga, at inosente si senator base doon sa mga testimonya nila Gen. Magalong at iba pang mga law enforcerment officers," Peoro added, referring Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who is a former chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

(We are praying that the court would heard what we wrote that there is no conspiracy or drugs, and the senator is innocent basing on the testimonies of Gen. Magalong and other law enforcement officers.) — Christian Deiparine with reports from Kristine Joy Patag

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