Court defers anew De Lima arraignment on drug raps

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2017 12:59 AM

MANILA- The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) has reset to Sept. 15 the arraignment of detained Sen. Leila de Lima on drug charges.

The Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 rescheduled De Lima's arraignment on the prosecution's request for additional time to file a rejoinder to senator's reply to the drug allegations, lodged against her by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption. 

The court, among three Muntinlupa salas handling drug charges against the senator, gave prosecutors until Aug. 25 to file the pleading. 

The court had deferred De Lima's arraignment in June on her request after she questioned the order for her arrest. The lawmaker, among President Rodrigo Duterte's fiercest critics, has been detained at the national police headquarters since February. 

Security remained tight as De Lima attended the hearing on Friday morning. Her supporters also gathered in front of the court to express solidarity with the embattled senator.

De Lima is also set to file a motion to dismiss drug charges filed against her and her co-accused Jose Adrian Dera, said Rene Saguisag, one of De Lima's lead counsels.

Saguisag said the legal team decided to withdraw its previous supplemental motion to quash the charges against the Senator and is instead planning to ask the court to dismiss the case on the grounds of a mistrial.

The lawyer argued that there was no crime that could be charged against De Lima since the prosecution only alleges that Chinese drug lord Peter Co delivered money and vehicles to Dera, De Lima's alleged nephew who the senator has many times asserted is a stranger to her. -- with a report from Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News