Arraignment reset in ‘weakest’ case vs De Lima
The Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Friday reset the arraignment of detained Sen. Leila de Lima on her second drug trade complaint, which her lawyer considered to be “the weakest” among the three charges.
Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 Judge Amelia Fabros-Cruz rescheduled the arraignment on Aug. 18.
De Lima, who has denied the charges, is expected to enter a plea of not guilty
Alex Padilla, one of her lawyers, said they had an existing motion for the court to recall the warrant of arrest and to defer arraignment.
The judge gave the prosecution 10 days to comment and the defense five days to respond.
Cruz was the same judge who issued the second warrant of arrest against De Lima on June 21 for Criminal Case No. 17-166.
Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 Judge Juanita Guerrero issued the first warrant of arrest against De Lima in February for a different illegal drug trade case—No. 17-165—with former Bureau of Corrections officer in charge Rafael Ragos and her former aide Ronnie Dayan as coaccused.
“This is probably the flimsiest, if not the weakest case the government has filed against Senator De Lima,” Padilla said of the charge against the senator and her alleged aide Jose Adrian Dera.
Dera allegedly demanded millions of pesos and vehicles for De Lima’s senatorial run from convicted drug lord Peter Co in New Bilibid Prison in March 2016.—WITH A REPORT FROM ERMA EDERA
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