Court junks De Lima pleas in drug case

Ralph Edwin Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - March 6, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A Muntinlupa court yesterday affirmed its decision to dismiss a demurrer for evidence and motion for bail filed by detained Sen. Leila de Lima in one of two remaining drug cases against her.

Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 205 Judge Liezel Aquiatan, in her omnibus order, denied the motions for reconsideration filed by De Lima and her co-accused Ronnie Dayan for lack of merit.

Last month, the judge cleared De Lima of one of three counts of conspiracy to commit drug trading filed against the senator, who is accused of receiving proceeds from illegal drug trading in the New Bilibid Prison for her senatorial campaign.

In affirming the dismissal of the demurrer, the judge said that both De Lima and Dayan “must present their evidence to prove their innocence of the crime charged.”

De Lima, in her motion for reconsideration, argued that the court did not cover all arguments that were cited in her demurrer to evidence and motion for bail.

“The omnibus order created an unfair impression that the witnesses all testified to a seamless and wholly credible narration of accused De Lima’s guilt when, in fact, the prosecution’s own witnesses undermined the prosecution’s own case,” the motion read.

“The failure to rule on continuing objections that are clear on the record raises doubts as to whether the records were even consulted to get a full picture of the nature and tenor of witnesses’ testimony, which may account for why the facts were presented lopsidedly to support the prosecution’s case,” it added.

Aquiatan, in her order, said not including certain portions of witnesses’ testimony “does not preclude the court to include them in the ultimate decision after hearing the version of the defense.”

De Lima has been behind bars since February 2017 for what she described as “trumped up” charges.     

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