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Contempt rap vs De Lima, lawyer junked  

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
Contempt rap vs De Lima, lawyer junked   
The Department of Justice, through its panel of prosecutors who are handling the drug cases against detained Sen. Leila de Lima, wanted the court to hold the senator and her lawyer liable for indirect contempt.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — A Muntinlupa court has dismissed an indirect contempt case against detained Sen. Leila de Lima and her lawyer Filibon Tacardon over statements made about her trial on drug charges.

Regional Trial Court Branch 206 Judge Gener Gito, in a May 2 ruling, said the information bared by Tacardon in media interviews in December 2020 did not violate the sub judice rule.

“What respondent Tacardon reported to the media are mere echoes of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. The court does not find malice in them nor contumacious in those statements,” the decision read.

The Department of Justice, through its panel of prosecutors who are handling the drug cases against De Lima, wanted the court to hold the senator and her lawyer liable for indirect contempt.

Tacardon supposedly discussed the testimonies of witnesses that worked in favor of his client, including how alleged drug lord Vicente Sy told the court that he never met De Lima despite his previous statements that he contributed to the former’s senatorial campaign.

“The court deciphered the comments and utterances of respondent… Tacardon to the various media outlets and find nothing therein that would create a ‘clear and present danger’ to the administration of justice,” Gito said in dismissing the contempt charge.

The judge said the lawyer merely shared the answers of prosecution witnesses during the hearings and in analysis, “the court is of the view that (the statements) cannot even be considered sub judice in real sense of the term.”

The dismissal came after three persons recanted their testimonies against De Lima, who was charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit drug trading: self-confessed drug dealer Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, former Bureau of Corrections head Rafael Ragos and De Lima’s former aide Ronnie Dayan.

De Lima, who has been detained since 2017, was acquitted in one of the three drug charges against her.

FILIBON TACARDON

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