Muntinlupa court defers bail ruling on de Lima’s case
MANILA, Philippines — The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court did not rule on detained former senator Leila de Lima’s bid to be released on bail, her lawyer said on Monday.
Atty. Filibon Tacardon said Muntinlupa RTC Branch 256 Presiding Judge Romeo Buenaventura opted to first resolve the formal offer of evidence before issuing a ruling on the bail petition.
With the deferred ruling on the bail plea, if Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 Presiding Judge Joseph Abrahan Alcantara acquits de Lima on her other drug case on May 12, de Lima will remain in detention.
“Sabi ni Judge, kailangan muna maresolba ang formal offer of evidence bago mag rule. Since may pending petition for bail pa si Sen.de Lima, if may ruling sa May 12 and assuming it will be in her favor, hindi pa muna siya makakalaya,” Tacardon told reporters.
[The judge said he would rule first on the formal offer of evidence before coming up with a ruling. Since Sen.de Lima has a pending petition for bail, if there is a ruling on May 12, and assuming it will be in her favor, she will not be released immediately.]
“Our fingers remain crossed, and we continue to pray for justice and truth to prevail. We’re hoping it will not be months pero hopefully, the bail petition will be resolved before the next hearing in June,” he said.
Muntinlupa RTC Branch 256 has set a hearing on June 5, 19, and 26 for the presentation of new witnesses.
“It is still part of the evidence in chief of the prosecution but is not necessary for the resolution on the bail application,” he explained.
Branch 256 is handling the complaint against de Lima, former BuCor chief Franklin Jesus Bucayu, Bucayu’s former staff member Wilfredo Elli; inmate Jaybee Sebastian, Ronnie Dayan, de Lima’s former security aide, Joenel Sanchez; and a certain Jad de Vera.
State prosecutors accused de Lima and Bucayu of tolerating the illegal drugs trade inside the NBP’s maximum security compound from May 2013 to May 2015.
In February 2021, Branch 205 of the Muntinlupa RTC junked one of the three-drug cases against de Lima.