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In a first, De Lima moves for bail

Senator Leila De Lima has asked a Muntinlupa court to order her provisional release from police custody by granting her bail.

In her first motion for bail since being charged, the senator through her lawyers said she is entitled to bail "as the evidence presented by the prosecution is not strong."

De Lima was arrested in February 2017 and now faces three separate cases for conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading before two branches of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court. She has repeatedly denied the charges.

Filed Monday, this motion for bail is only for one of the three criminal cases: Criminal Case No. 17-166, in which De Lima's co-accused is Jose Adrian Dera, alias "Jad De Vera" and "Jad."

"We carefully weighed this option and we feel that this is the proper time to assert her right to bail," one of De Lima's lawyers, Filibon Tacardon, told GMA News Online.

In a 44-page motion, De Lima through her lawyers argued that prosecutors failed to prove the alleged link and conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading between her and Dera. It adds that the liability of Peter Co, who was unindicted in this case, cannot be ruled upon without violating Co's rights.

Tacardon said it was not proven that the money and vehicles allegedly given by Co to De Lima came from drug money.

The lawyer claimed that Co "even admitted that he never gave any money or vehicles" to De Lima.

The existence of the vehicles also wasn't established, Tacardon said.

In addition, the motion for bail states the prosecution witnesses themselves "testified that accused De Lima was never engaged in any illegal drug activity and that she led the successful 2014 NBP (New Bilibid Prison) raid to eradicate illegal activities inside NBP."

The motion further claims that the prosecution has failed to "specifically allege and prove the existence of the specific drug transactions alleged and the illegal drug involved."

De Lima's lawyers said the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses have "questionable probative value" as they were "irrelevant, hearsay, incredible, biased, and self-serving."

They said the senator is not a flight risk.

Bail is a matter of right, except for those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua (up to 40 years) "when evidence of guilt is strong," according to the 1987 Constitution.

Earlier this year, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra questioned why De Lima had not applied for bail.

This time, sought for comment on the motion for bail, he said: "Senator De Lima should have done this a long time ago if she really thought that all the evidence against her were fabricated." — BM, GMA News

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