Muntinlupa RTC resets hearing on De Lima’s cases
Sen. Leila de Lima who is facing three illegal drug trade complaints at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) would be staying longer at the police headquarters as the court has rescheduled the hearing on her motions to dismiss her cases to next month.
Branch 205 Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz gave the prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) 10 days to comment on the senator’s motions to quash and judicial determination of probable cause.
The prosecution was also ordered to reply within 10 days to the motions of Jose Adrian Dera, De Lima’s coaccused on the case, for judicial determination of probable cause and to hold the issuance of warrant of arrest.
The defense, in turn, was given another 10 days to comment on the prosecution’s motion to consolidate all the cases.
The next hearing has been scheduled for April 21, or after the Holy Week.
According to the DOJ, Dera, a former aide of the senator, demanded millions of pesos and vehicles for De Lima’s senatorial run from convicted drug lord Peter Co.
Last week, the DOJ prosecutors submitted a motion asking Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 to consolidate the cases handled by Branches 205 and 206, and the case in her court into a single case that she alone would try.
De Lima’s counsel previously said the defense would oppose the motion, as all three cases would be heard by Guerrero, who had ordered the senator’s arrest just three days after the justice department filed the complaint against the lawmaker.
The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday the motion of De Lima for the high court to review her case and to bar Guerrero from hearing her cases.
De Lima had asked the high tribunal to order the inhibition of Guerrero from the case for prejudging it and for grave abuse of discretion in issuing the arrest warrant with “undue haste and inordinate interest.”
The three cases arose from complaints brought by the National Bureau of Investigation and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption based on testimonies during the House of Representatives’ inquiry into the alleged illegal drug trade in New Bilibid Prison during De Lima’s term as secretary of justice.
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