De Lima seeks to junk case due to mistrial
The continuous verbal attacks of President Duterte against Sen. Leila de Lima will be added to the list of reasons why the “trumped up” charges against her in a Muntinlupa City court should be dismissed, according to the lawmaker’s legal counsel.
The lawyer said the De Lima legal team had withdrawn on Friday its motion to quash the illegal drug trade case against her at Branch 205 of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) filed on Tuesday.
“Aside from the previous reasons we have cited, we will add the prejudicial statements of Mr. Duterte in our motion for the judge to dismiss the case due to mistrial,” said one of De Lima’s lawyers.
In a court order dated Aug. 17, 2017, Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz granted the prosecution’s “urgent motion for extension of time with motion to reset” the hearing to file its rejoinder to De Lima’s reply. The prosecutors were given 15 days, deferring De Lima’s arraignment to Sept. 15.
Former Sen. Rene Saguisag, who has been attending De Lima’s hearing, said he recommended the defense lawyers to file a motion to dismiss the case on grounds of mistrial.
He said there was no way De Lima could get a fair trial since the President and his men, particularly Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo, would not stop giving the lady senator a guilty verdict.
“And for the President to keep condemning someone being tried by the court, it will really sway policemen, prosecutors and judges to toe the line,” the 78-year-old Saguisag said.
The illegal drug trade case against De Lima and coaccused Jose Adrian Dera stemmed from the complaint of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption filed in the Department of Justice.
The complaint used the statements of drug convicts during a series of hearings by the House of Representatives investigating the illegal drug trade in New Bilibid Prison allegedly committed by De Lima and Dera in March last year.
De Lima’s camp maintained that the senator at that time was already a private citizen, as she resigned as justice secretary on Oct. 12, 2015, to run for senator.
Meanwhile, De Lima will be spending her 57th birthday in detention for the first time on Aug. 27.
Her birthday wish? “My vindication to come soon, that’s my birthday wish,” De Lima said in an interview after attending a hearing at the Muntinlupa RTC on Friday.
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