6th judge withdraws from De Lima cases
The trial of Sen. Leila de Lima has hit another snag as a sixth judge bowed out of her drug cases, more than two years since the Muntinlupa City court started hearing them.
The camp of the detained senator was informed over the weekend that Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 256 has opted for an early retirement.
Based on records from the Judicial and Bar Council, Corpuz was first appointed as judge on Aug. 21, 2001, and is scheduled to retire in December 2020.
The resumption of one of the three conspiracies to commit drug trading cases against De Lima scheduled on June 5 has since been canceled, while the case is being reraffled to a new judge.
Branch 256 was already set for the camp of another accused, De Lima’s former security aide Joenel Sanchez, to continue the cross-examination of Reynante Diaz, one of the 13 witnesses of the prosecution.
Diaz was the manager of Herbert Colanggo, who became a recording artist while serving his lifetime sentence at New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Colangco was one of the Bilibid drug lords who tagged De Lima, during her term as justice secretary, as the one behind the proliferation of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary.
The NBP is supervised by the Bureau of Corrections, an agency under the Department of Justice.
Corpuz is the sixth judge to withdraw from hearing De Lima’s cases, which had made a round over almost all the branches at Muntinlupa RTC.
In January 2018, Judge Juanita Guerrero of Branch 204, who issued the first warrant of arrest against De Lima ordering her detention at Camp Crame’s custodial center in February 2017, voluntarily inhibited herself from the case.
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