Muntinlupa court denies bid to reconsider de Lima’s acquittal on 2nd drug charge
MANILA, Philippines — A Muntinlupa court denied the prosecutor’s bid to reverse the acquittal in the second of three drug-related charges against detained former Senator Leila de Lima.
Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 presiding judge Abraham Joseph Alcantara denied the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration on the acquittal of De Lima.
“The court finds no compelling reason to reconsider the acquittal,” read the four-page ruling dated July 6 but was only furnished to reporters on Friday.
The ruling noted that the prosecution sought the decision’s reconsideration by questioning the appreciation of evidence presented before the court.
But the court said that the prosecution’s move requires reviewing the evidence that would lead to double jeopardy.
“The prosecution sought reconsideration of the Court’s decision acquitting herein accused. In doing so, the appreciation of evidence presented before this Court is again raised [as] an issue. Said factual issue necessarily requires a review of the evidence which is barred by the Constitutional right against double jeopardy,” the ruling read.
The court also noted that it has “taken great care and prudence” in evaluating all testimonies and pieces of evidence, noting that the prosecution was given “full and ample opportunity to present its case.”
In May, the Muntinlupa RTC acquitted De Lima and her former aide Ronnie Dayan of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading in the New Bilibid Prison while she was Justice Secretary.
De Lima has now won two of three drug cases filed against her during the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte. De Lima scored her first victory in 2021.
The remaining drug case against de Lima is pending before Muntinlupa RTC Branch 256.
Her co-accused in this case include Dayan, former BuCor Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu and his former staff member Wilfredo Elli, as well as de Lima’s ex-aide Joenel Sanchez and nephew Jose Adrian Dera.
She has been in detention since February 2017 and has repeatedly denied the drug charges.