QC court dismisses disobedience case vs De Lima

QC court dismisses disobedience case vs De Lima

/ 08:25 PM June 24, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 76 has dismissed the two disobedience cases against former Senator Leila de Lima.

The dismissal of the cases means that the former lawmaker has been cleared of the trumped-up charges filed against her by the Duterte administration.

De Lima was charged with disobedience for allegedly ordering former driver Ronnie Dayan not to testify in Congress’ inquiry into the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.

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READ: De Lima charged for ‘disobedience’ to House

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A subpoena was issued to Dayan to appear on September 28 and October 6, 2016, but he failed to do so, prompting Congress to issue a show cause order and eventually cited him in contempt.

READ: Ex-De Lima lover, Ronnie Dayan, charged for disobedience

The RTC granted her petition for certiorari after the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) refused to dismiss her case.

De Lima wanted the case against her to be dismissed, citing the “blatant and continuing violation of her constitutional right to speedy trial and speedy disposition” of her case.

The MeTC denied her motion to dismiss it, saying it was a prohibited pleading.

De Lima then took her case to the RTC.

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The RTC said de Lima has been in detention for 2,321 days, which is longer than the penalty for disobedience, which is one month and one day to six months.

The court said the reason for delays in the trial of de Lima’s case was the prosecution’s “inexcusable absences and requests for resetting.”

“Many of the absences of the public prosecutor were due to availment of leaves, which could be avoided by assigning a substitute prosecutor so that the trial in this case would not have been unduly hampered,” the court said, adding that the case was not “too complicated requiring voluminous pieces of evidence.”

The court said, “Prejudice was definitely caused to the accused by the delay in the criminal proceedings. The delay in the criminal  proceedings meant a delay in the final resolution of the case against her.”

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The court also added that the MeTC should have treated de Lima’s case as an exception, pointing out that the “right of petitioner to speedy trial should have always be given importance over and above procedural rules.”

TAGS: De Lima, disobedience

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