Hearings of De Lima appeal rescheduled; state prosecutors no-show
The hearings of Sen. Leila de Lima’s motions to dismiss the illegal drugs cases against her before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court on Friday were rescheduled for next month after state prosecutors failed to show up.
Judge Patria Manalastas-De Leon of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 206 granted the motion of the state prosecutors to reschedule the hearing for March 3.
The prosecution said in their motion that they are required to attend a legal education seminar for prosecutors on the scheduled day of hearing on Friday.
Prosecutors also failed to show up in the hearing at Branch 205. Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz, rescheduled the next hearing for March 10 to give the prosecution enough time to comment on De Lima’s motion to quash the charge against her.
De Lima insisted that the Office of the Ombudsman, instead of the Department of Justice (DOJ), should have investigated the charges against her because she was the justice secretary when the alleged crimes were committed.
The Ombudsman’s mandate is to investigate accusations against public officials who are then prosecuted in the Sandiganbayan if evidence warrants it.
De Lima’s coaccused, her alleged nephew Jose Adrian Dera and his counsel, were absent at the hearing.
Fabros-Corpuz noted that hearing De Lima’s camp motion to hold in abeyance the issuance of warrant of arrest against her as “moot and academic” as the senator had already acknowledged the warrant of arrest and surrendered herself to authorities.
Filibon Tacardon, De Lima’s counsel, said they filed for another legal remedy — motion for judicial determination of probable cause — at Branch 205.
“If we were to read the complaint (Criminal Case No. 17-166), the charge was direct bribery (not illegal drug trade),” Tacardon said.
He noted the prosecution did not present physical evidence that Dera asked for money on De Lima’s behalf to be used as her campaign kitty./rga
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