Drug lords’ exoneration proves De Lima is innocent, say lawyers
The camp of detained Sen. Leila de Lima will ask a Muntinlupa court to junk the drug charges against her, following the resolution of the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors to exonerate confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, businessman Peter Lim, convicted drug lord Peter Co and several others.
After more than a year in detention at the Philippine National Police custodial center in Camp Crame, De Lima still failed to enter a plea on any of her drug cases on Friday.
Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 rescheduled the arraignment of De Lima and her coaccused in two criminal cases to May 18.
The court granted the plea of De Lima’s camp to defer her arraignment after her counsel filed on Thursday a motion asking Corpuz to reconsider her order, admitting the prosecution’s amended information.
The prosecution changed the original charge from drug trading to conspiracy to commit drug trading.
“If the DOJ will file a completely different charge against Sen. De Lima, there needs to be another preliminary investigation. And while the prosecutors are doing that, she should be released,” said Filibon Tacardon, the senator’s head counsel.
De Lima said the exoneration of Espinosa and the others proved that the senator was innocent and the charges against her were political persecution.
In a Senate hearing in December 2016, Espinosa said De Lima was involved in his drug operations and that he gave her drug money for her election campaign. —DEXTER CABALZA
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