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De Lima’s camp opposes move to reopen case

The camp of detained former senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday opposed the motion filed by the prosecution before a Muntinlupa court to reopen one of her drug cases, calling it “underhanded maneuvering.”

In a five-page opposition filed before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204, De Lima’s camp stressed that the prosecution and the defense agreed in open court during Monday’s hearing to terminate the proceedings and to submit the case for resolution.

They said that more than a month has also passed between the termination of the presentation of evidence for Ronnie Dayan, the former senator’s driver, on March 10 and the hearing on April 17.

“More than a month has already lapsed since the said date and the Panel remained silent as to its intent to introduce rebuttal evidence,” De Lima’s camp said.

“The abovementioned facts point to the underhanded maneuvering of the Panel to inevitably delay the proceedings in this case. The Prosecution had six long years to prove its case,” it later added.

De Lima's camp also said there is no proof that the presentation of the additional evidence, including the testimony of Atty. Demiteer Huerta of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), would be of value.

According to the camp, Huerta is also not newly discovered evidence. They said that Huerta was present when BuCor chief Rafael Ragos testified on the recantation of his allegations against the former senator.

“The Panel’s agreement to submit the case for decision constitutes a waiver of their opportunity to further present rebuttal evidence. Trials must end at some point,” De Lima’s camp said.

Atty. Filibon Tacardon, De Lima’s legal counsel, said they were surprised by the move of the prosecution.

Tacardon had announced after Monday’s hearing that they expect the decision to be promulgated on May 12.

De Lima is accused of benefiting financially from the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison during her stint as Justice Secretary. She has repeatedly denied the allegation.

In February 2021, the Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 205 junked one of the three drug cases against De Lima.

The former senator marked her sixth year in detention in February 2023.—AOL, GMA Integrated News