Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has asked the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205 to dismiss one of the three trumped-up illegal drug cases against her considering the clear absence of evidence that will implicate her in the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
De Lima, through her legal counsels, filed her Demurrer to Evidence for Criminal Case 17-166 involving also co-accused Jose Adrian “Jad” Dera last Jan. 7, stressing that the Prosecution failed to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
“Considering the clear absence of evidence – there is even no evidence of an overt act, much less proof beyond reasonable doubt – proving her guilt for violation of Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5 and Section 3(jj) of Republic Act No. 9165 (R.A. 9165), Accused De Lima respectfully submits that this instant trumped-up charge against her has no merit and must be dismissed,” De Lima said.
“In view of the absence of evidence of guilt, it is needless to still proceed with the presentation of the defense’s evidence, and the Court and the Accused must both be spared from this travesty of justice,” she added.
Despite presenting 21 witnesses and voluminous irrelevant documentary evidence in the case, De Lima maintained that the alleged conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading between her and Dera remains to be a speculation.
“None of the prosecution witnesses admitted having personal knowledge of, much less personal involvement in, the alleged illegal drug trade,” she said.
De Lima was originally charged with Illegal Trading/ Sale of Illegal Drugs but the Prosecution amended the Information, substantially changing the charge into an alleged conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading because of the absence of a corpus delicti needed for a conviction.
The Amended Information alleged that De Lima conspired with Dera in such a way that Dera demanded money and vehicles from drug lord convict Peter Co for her senatorial bid in the May 2016 election, and, Co traded dangerous drugs through the use of mobile phones, and gave to De Lima, through Dera, the proceeds of illegal drug trading consisting of three million pesos and four vehicles.
Instead of providing evidence of guilt beyond reasonable doubt against her, De Lima said that the Prosecution was only successful in proving that the case has absolutely nothing to do with illegal drugs because it is about facilitating the payment for the kidnapping-for-ransom by rogue cops twisted to implicate her in a bogus charge.
“Prosecution witnesses Peter Co, Hans Tan, and Sally Serrrano all testified that the real plot of this case is the kidnapping of Sally Serrano, [Co’s niece], by rogue cops,” she recalled.
“Their testimonies further show that the alleged money delivered to Accused Dera is the ransom payment for the supposed abduction or kidnapping of Sally Serrano, where, based on the Prosecution’s own theory and evidence, Accused De Lima had no part whatsoever,” she added.
De Lima added that the evidence presented by the Prosecution also “proved the regularity, legitimacy and success of the NBP Raid” conducted by then Justice Secretary De Lima in December 2014 through the statement of law enforcement officers, including former PNP Intel Chief and now Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
Likewise, she said that the prosecution evidence also proved that “there was no intelligence report linking Accused De Lima in the illegal drug trading” and that there are no “proof that Accused De Lima is involved in any illegal financial transaction” as confirmed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
In summary, De Lima moved for the immediate dismissal of Criminal Case No. 17-166 based on the following grounds:
i. Failure to Prove Illegal Drug Trading;
ii. No Evidence of Conspiracy;
iii. No Evidence of Overt Act;
iv. Strong Evidence of Innocence;
v. Violation of Traditional Duty and Right to Due Process; and
vi. Questionable Probative Value of Testimonies.
De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, has been imprisoned since Feb. 24 2017, a total of 1,415 days as of Jan. 8, despite the absence of evidence. She is set to file her second Demurrer to Evidence in another case, Crim. Case No. 17-165, today (Jan. 8). (30)