De Lima’s trial for disobedience to summons reset
A Quezon City court has reset anew the trial of detained Sen. Leila de Lima for her disobedience to summons case, after alleged technical irregularities were found on the judicial affidavit submitted to the court by Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali.
Judge Ludmila de Pio Lim of QC Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 34 moved the trial in August, after De Lima filed a motion for reconsideration to strike off the record Umali’s affidavit and disqualify him as a witness of the prosecution.
Both De Lima and Umali were present during the hearing on Friday.
With Umali off the witness stand, the defense and prosecution counsels presented their arguments over the discrepancies and irregularities of the copies of the House justice committee chair’s affidavit.
The lawmaker’s camp manifested that the court should not have admitted the testimony, citing violations of the rules on judicial affidavit. There seemed to be two different affidavits submitted by the defense, they earlier said.
But prosecution lawyer Albert Angelo Villalon alleged that the two documents remained “substantially the same.” He stressed that only “typographical errors” were corrected.
In the previous hearing, De Lima’s lawyer, Teddy Rigoroso, said it was not a “mere amendment,” but rather “two species” of affidavits.
Umali, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas were the complainants in the disobedience case.
They accused the lawmaker of allegedly inducing her former driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan to snub the House inquiry on the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison.
The court had given the prosecution 10 days to file its comment on the motion.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) on Thursday urged the government to let De Lima do her duties as senator, including her participation in legislative proposals.
The four-member DROI delegation visited the Philippines from July 18 to 20.
“(We) called on the authorities of the Philippines to guarantee a fair trial to the senator to let her fulfill a senator’s duties including voting in the Senate,” it said in a statement.
De Lima was detained last February after being accused of receiving payoffs from convicted drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison.
An international political group will visit De Lima on Saturday at Camp Crame to check on her condition.
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