De Lima’s arraignment on ‘weakest’ case deferred anew to Nov. 24
The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205 has reset again the arraignment of Senator Leila de Lima to resolve pending motions filed in court.
Judge Amelia Fabros-Cruz of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 moved the arraignment of De Lima and her coaccused Jad Dera to Nov. 24, five months after the supposed arraignment in June.
In June, the court deferred de Lima’s arraignment after she questioned the order of arrest issued against her. Then, the arraignment has been rescheduled to Sept. 25 and again to Oct. 13.
Arraignment is necessary for the court to have jurisdiction over the accused. Once the accused has been arraigned, the court can proceed to pre-trial conference and eventually, the trial of the accused.
Filibon Tacardon, counsel of De Lima, said they had filed two motions for reconsideration — one for their dismissed second motion to quash the information of her case and another for their denied application for legislative furlough.
Tacardon said the case handled by Corpuz — Criminal Case No. 17-166 for violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act filed by the Department of Justice — “did not state an offense.”
In their complaint, the DOJ said Dera demanded for millions of pesos and vehicles for De Lima’s senatorial run from convicted drug lord Peter Co in New Bilibid Prison in March 2016.
De Lima’s camp had said the case at Branch 205 was “the weakest” among her three drug cases.
They said De Lima could not influence actions inside the national penitentiary, which was managed by the Bureau of Corrections, an agency under the DOJ, since she was a private citizen at that time.
De Lima resigned as DOJ secretary on October 7, 2015, to run as senator for the 2016 elections.
Tacardon also said they were asking the court for a furlough for De Lima to be able to attend the Senate hearings concerning extrajudicial killings, particularly that of Kian Loyd delos Santos.
Corpuz issued the second warrant of arrest against De Lima on June 21.
The senator was currently detained at the custodial center of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, Quezon City, after she was ordered arrested by Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 Executive Judge Juanita Guerrero. /idl
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