De Lima files for bail after 3 years in detention

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2020 10:34 AM | Updated as of Jun 16 2020 06:17 PM

Embatled Senator Leila De Lima is escorted by heavy guards as she attends her hearing at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Friday, June 22, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - Sen. Leila de Lima on Monday applied for bail for the first time since her arrest in 2017 on drug-dealing charges that she dismissed as harassment for going against President Rodrigo Duterte.

De Lima told a Muntinlupa court handling her case that she should be allowed to post bail as due to "hearsay" evidence.

"Instead of proving her guilt, the prosecution itself provided strong evidence of accused De Lima's innocence and the regularity of the performance of her duties as then Secretary of Justice," De Lima said in her 47-page motion.

"Certainly, the granting of bail to accused De Lima will result in upholding her constitutional presumption of innocence, recognizing her right to due process, and guarantee her appearance in court for the remainder of the trial, and allow her to serve her mandate as a duly-elected senator of the country," it read.

De Lima was accused of demanding for money and vehicles for her 2016 senatorial campaign from drug lord Peter Co, who is jailed in the New Bilibid Prison. She was justice secretary at that time.

The prosecution said a certain Jose Adrian Dera - who was allegedly acting on behalf of De Lima - facilitated the negotiations for the money and vehicles.

"Despite its numerous witnesses, the prosecution miserably failed to prove a veritable link between accused De Lima and Dera, much less the alleged conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading among De Lima, Dera, and Peter Co," De Lima said.

De Lima did not seek bail in 2017 since at that time, she was questioning the Muntinlupa court's jurisdiction over the case, her lawyer, Boni Tacardon, told ABS-CBN News.

"At that time, if you filed a petition of bail, that is an expressed admission of the jurisdiction of the court which we do not want to give at that time," Tacardon said.

De Lima argued that cases against her should have been filed before the Ombudsman.

Should the court grant De Lima's petition for bail, the opposition lawmaker will not be immediately freed as she is facing 2 other cases, one for extortion and another for allegedly tolerating the sale of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary.

"Even if we win this petition for bail, Sen. De Lima will not be released, but the statement is deafening kapag na-grant ang aming petition," Tacardon said.