De Lima files third motion for bail, cites prosecution's failure to present witnesses

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 15 2020 02:48 PM

De Lima files third motion for bail, cites prosecution's failure to present witnesses 1
Sen. Leila De Lima is escorted by police as she emerges from her hearing at the Muntinlupa Trial court, Nov. 16, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Sen. Leila de Lima has filed a third petition for bail before a Muntinlupa court, citing the prosecution's failure to present at least 5 witnesses against her about 4 years since she was detained for drug charges.

In a 61-page motion for bail filed before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 256, De Lima's camp urged the court to uphold the senator's right "to be presumed innocent, especially in the face of weak evidence presented by the prosecution."

"Unless permitted this constitutional privilege, accused De Lima would remain to be a political prisoner persecuted for her resolve to defend human rights," it read.

"She has been unduly punished for her principled stance through the long period of imprisonment she has to unjustly suffer while awaiting the conclusion of this case."

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De Lima's camp has repeatedly questioned the prosecutors' failure to present witnesses who would prove that the senator personally met with drug lords in the New Bilibid Prison to allegedly seek funds for her senatorial bid.

Department of Justice prosecutors earlier asked the court to cite De Lima and her lawyer in contempt for allegedly discussing the merits of a pending case in public.

The Prosecution had also questioned why De Lima's camp filed petitions for bail in 3 separate cases only this year, 3 years since she was detained over drug charges.

De Lima did not seek bail in 2017 since at that time because 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.

Last month, the senator's camp said they are hoping for the court to grant the detained lawmaker's petition for bail before Christmas.

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-with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News