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De Lima camp awaits bail petition resolution after ‘fast, short’ hearings

The camp of former Senator Leila de Lima on Monday said they are now awaiting the resolution of a bail petition they filed in seeking the ex-legislator’s temporary freedom.

Lawyer Boni Tacardo, legal counsel of de Lima, said the hearings for the petition may now be considered “finished” after witness Jojo Baligad, the prosecution’s last witness, was presented before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 256.

“Binigyan ang Prosecution ng sampung araw para mag-submit ng kanilang formal offer of evidence at ang defense team naman ng mga akusado ay binigyan ng limang araw para mag-comment doon. Pagkatapos, submitted for decision na ang aming petition for bail,” he told reporters in a chance interview after the hearing.

(The court gave the prosecution a total of ten days to submit their formal offer of evidence while the defense team of the accused was given five days to comment. After that, the petition will be submitted for decision.)

“Nananalangin kami na ito ay madesisyunan nang maaga at sana makita ng hukuman ang mga argumento na malamang magbibigay na ng pyansa para kay Senator Leila de Lima,” he said.

(We pray this will be decided on as soon as possible and that the court will see arguments that may compel them to grant the bail petition.)

De Lima and Baligad personally appeared in the court for the continuation of the hearings for the former lawmaker’s two remaining drug charges. Tacardon described the hearing as “fast and short”, saying their camp did not file for a cross-examination after the witness did not mention anything related to the legislator in his statements.

“For the first time, walang nabanggit tungkol kay Senator Leila de Lima kaya di na rin kami nag-cross [examination]. Nakatuon lang siya sa sinabi niya na na-involved siya sa illegal drug trading at nagbigay ng pera sa mga tao na di kasama sa kaso maliban kay Colonel Eli raw na binigyan niya ng pera,” he added.

(The witness did not mention anything about Sen. Leila de Lima for the first time. He only focused on his involvement in the illegal drug trade and his role in giving money to people not involved in the case except a certain Colonel Eli. We did not conduct a cross-examination because of that.)

The ex-senator marked her sixth year in prison after she was detained for allegedly abetting the illicit drug trade inside the National Bilibid Prison. She has consistently denied the allegations.

While various factors caused delays in the prosecution’s presentation of their witnesses including the COVID-19 pandemic, Tacardon hoped there would be a “speedy resolution” for the bail petition.

“Ang pag-piyansa ay karapatan ng bawat akusado. Kung mapatunayan naman natin na ang ebidensya laban kay Sen. Leila de Lima at iba pang akusado ay di malakas, constitutional right nila ang makapagpyansa. Kaya tinutugis namin ito at tinututukan para kahit papano mabigyan nang pansamantalang laya si Sen. Leila de Lima kung mapagbibigyan ng hukuman,” he said.

(Posting bail is a right of an accused. If the evidence against them is weak, then it is Sen. Leila de Lima and all accused’s rights to post bail. That’s why we’re focusing here to give her temporary freedom should the court allow.) — DVM, GMA Integrated News