Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has moved for bail in the third of the three trumped-up drug charges against her, reiterating her innocence and citing weak evidence presented by the Prosecution.
In a Motion for Bail Ad Cautelam filed by her lawyers before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 256, De Lima also said that the trial is ongoing for almost four years already but the prosecution has just managed to present a total of five witnesses.
These include Ret. Gen. Benjamin Magalong, former Bilibid inmate Gerry Valeroso, Bilibid inmates Nonito Arile and Engelberto Durano, and Bilibid fixer and pimp Reynante Diaz.
“While the unfortunate delays in the case may be said to have been brought about by a confluence of factors, what cannot be denied is that even with the awesome powers of the state, justice in this case has been terribly slow and the nexus between the evidence and the involvement of Accused De Lima to the alleged drug trading remains missing,” she said.
“This Honorable Court is respectfully urged to dispense justice by protecting Accused De Lima’s right to be presumed innocent, especially in the face of weak evidence presented by the Prosecution,” she added.
De Lima said the Prosecution failed to establish the alleged conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading between her and her co-accused using testimonies of the witnesses that are either have questionable probative value or irrelevant, incredible, biased, self-serving, or based on hearsay.
The former justice secretary noted that in fact, the testimony of Magalong, the only credible prosecution witness so far presented in said case, only points to her innocence and “non-involvement in any illegal activity.”
“During his testimony, Gen. Magalong stated that [De Lima] (a) had been very cooperative in the PNP-CIDG’s intelligence operations inside the NBP and was even the one who set-up and personally attended high-level meetings to plan the raid and (b) even involved other intelligence units, including the ISAFP, the NBI, the PAOCC, PDEA, and PNP-CIDG,” she said.
“If indeed Accused De Lima were involved in the alleged NBP drug trade, why would she involve the most established intelligence units in the raid? Clearly, when then Secretary De Lima set-up such high level meetings, her intention was to curb the illegal activities in NBP,” she added.
De Lima likewise noted that “General Magalong never testified having received any report of any integrity issues” against her, and has even acknowledged that she was the one who led a successful raid designed to curb the illegal activities, including illegal drug trading, inside the NBP.
Meanwhile, De Lima noted that Valeroso has no personal knowledge of her supposed involvement in the drug trade and was even caught lying in his testimony when he denied his statement before the House hearing that he never saw 65 million in cash belonging to inmate Sam Li Chua.
“Mr. Valeroso said one thing at the Congressional hearing and its exact opposite in the hearing before this Honorable Court,” she said. “[M]r. Valeroso’s testimony is also largely hearsay. All his information did not come from his personal knowledge, as they were all just relayed to him by his alleged asset, Mr. Arile.”
De Lima said that Arile admitted to brokering a drug deal that did not involve any of the accused, and he got a commission for brokering the deal.
Other than that, De Lima noted that “Mr. Arile’s information of the source of drugs and delivery to Accused Sanchez and Accused De Lima all came from [Jaybee] Sebastian who is now dead. This is all hearsay and not based on personal knowledge.”
Arile never personally met De Lima or any of the accused. He claims to be a government “asset” without any proof, except a self-serving “report” that was never acknowledged by any recognized law enforcement.
In her Motion, De Lima also recalled how Durano directly gestured to her in an open court no less of a slashing motion across his throat at the same time mouthing “papatayin ako.”
Likewise, De Lima maintained that Diaz, who is a fixer at the NBP for convicted prisoners and also acts as pimp for sex workers requested to be brought in by certain convicts, is not a credible witness considering that “he is a self-confessed corrupter of public officials and human trafficker.”
“Mr. Diaz’s demeanor while testifying before the Honorable Court also indicates that he cannot be trusted as a candid and straightforward witness,” De Lima stressed. (30)