MANILA, Philippines — Detained Sen. Leila De Lima asked a Muntinlupa court to grant her provisional liberty citing what she said was the prosecution's weak evidence against her.
This is the first time that De Lima filed a motion for bail since she was detained at the police headquarters in Quezon City on drug-related charges in February 2017.
In seeking the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205's nod to post bail, De Lima pointed out that the prosecution's evidence is not strong and stressed that she is not a flight risk.
De Lima's lawyer noted that the offense being charged against her carries the imposable penalty of life imprisonment and thus no bail was recommended by the prosecution.
"In the instant case, the prosecution, after presenting most of its witnesses, miserably failed to establish the required proof evident or presumption great that accused De Lima violated Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5 and Section 3 of [Republic Act 9165]," they said.
"With this failure of the prosecution to provide evidence, let alone strong evidence, it behooves upon this Honorable Court to allow accused De Lima to post bail as a matter of right," the motion further read.
State prosecutors initially charged De Lima with drug trading but they later amended it to accuse the senator of conspiracy to commit drug trading inside the New Bilibid Prison. She supposedly committed this when she was justice secretary during the Aquino administration.
Her co-accused in the case handled by this branch is Jad Dera, who was earlier said to be her nephew, but who claimed in 2019 that he is a police asset. Inmate Peter Co said he delivered P5 million twice to Dera, supposedly to fund the senatorial campaign of De Lima.
De Lima's lawyer added that there is no proof that De Lima and Dera "conspired and confederated" to admit the charges against them.
He also argued: "The prosecution has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that [Co], not being lawfully authorized by law and through the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices, willfully and unlawfully traded and trafficked dangerous drugs."
They also stressed that Co denied in open court that he was involved in drug trading from 2010 to present.
"If the witnesses themselves were not engaged in illegal drugs, with whom did accused De Lima conspired to trade these forbidden circumstances?" they asked the court.
"Ultimately, this motion asks the Court to do one thing, i.e., it is invited to look at what remains of the evidence presented by the Prosecution, after taking away those that were inadmissible, irrelevant, immaterial and pure hearsay. What remains is testimony coming from Prosecution's own witnesses, the accused De Lima is innocent and devoid of any participation in the illegal drug trade," the motion also read.
"In sum, the prosecution has failed to prove that admissible and sufficient evidence against De Lima exists, much less that it is strong," they told the court.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for his part said that De Lima could have filed this motion earlier.
"[De Lima] should have done this a long time ago if she really thought that all the evidence against her were fabricated," the justice chief told reporters in a text message.
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