Court upholds dismissal of De Lima bid to throw out 2nd drug case
In this photo taken February 17, 2021, Sen. Leila De Lima attends the trial of the third drug case she is facing at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 256.
Office of Sen. Leila De Lima/release

Court upholds dismissal of De Lima bid to throw out 2nd drug case

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - March 5, 2021 - 2:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila De Lima’s trial in her second drug case will proceed as the Muntinlupa court upheld its dismissal of her bid to throw out the case.

Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 dismissed De Lima’s motion for reconsideration to reverse its earlier denial of her motion for bail and demurrer to evidence — a challenge to the prosecution evidence — due to lack of merit.

Judge Liezel Acquiatan also denied the appeal filed by De Lima’s co-accused, her former aide Ronnie Dayan.

“The Court stands with its Omnibus Order that accused De Lima and Dayan must present their evidence to prove their innocence of the crime charged,” the order on Friday read.

In her appeal, De Lima said the court’s Omnibus Order dated February 17 reduced their motion for bail and demurrer to just a half page of enumeration while the prosecution’s narrative composed 60% of the ruling.

“This conspicuous absence, in addition to the fact that its very title was wrongly cited as ‘Petition for Bail’ in the third line of the Omnibus Order, gives rise to doubts that it was even seen before, much less considered at all, in the drafting of the Omnibus Order,” their motion for reconsideration read.

But the court told De Lima that it need not capsulize in entirety the events that transpired during the hearing as it has discretion to make a summary of facts after reading the entire records.

It added that in resolving a demurrer, the prosecution’s evidence is under scrutiny. “Non-inclusion of certain portions of the testimony in the Omnibus Order does not preclude the Court to include them in the ultimate decision after hearing the version of the defense. It does not deprive accused De Lima the opportunity to exculpate herself if she can convincingly refute this Court’s initial findings,” the court also said.

RELATED: De Lima, lawyer seek dismissal of DOJ's contempt plea

De Lima attended the hearing in the court on Friday morning, but her counsel, lawyer Rolly Peoro said they moved to reset it, following of their appeal.

Peoro, in a transcript of interview, said Dayan was supposed to take the witness stand as part of his defense as accused, but the state prosecution opposed this.

He added that trial will resume on March 26 and April 16.

First drug case: Dera appeal denied

The court, which is also handling De Lima’s first case, also denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Jad Dera, said to be De Lima’s nephew but claimed to be a police asset instead.

The court last month granted De Lima’s demurrer and acquitted her, but it denied Dayan’s bid. It said: “The fact remains that Dera received money from the inmates as testified to by prosecution witnesses vis-à-vis his bank records.”

In its order denying’s Dera’s plea, the court said that while “the evidence of the prosecution is indeed not strong for the accused Dera to be convicted of the crime charged, this does not disqualify the conviction of a crime necessarily included in the offense charge.”

“The Court stands with its Omnibus Order that accused Dera must present evidence to prove his innocence of the crime charged,” it added.

The senator, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, marked her fourth year in detention on February 24, over the drug cases which she claimed are trumped up. She is facing her third drug case lodged before the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 256, where her plea for bail is also pending.

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