MANILA. Former senator Leila de Lima.
MANILA. Former senator Leila de Lima.File photo

De Lima acquitted in final drug case

A MUNTINLUPA City court has acquitted former senator Leila de Lima from her third and last case related to her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

In an order released on Monday, June 24, 2024, the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 granted De Lima’s motion for demurrer to evidence, which automatically dismisses her last remaining drug charge.

De Lima’s lawyer filed the petition for demurrer in March, saying the prosecution has failed to present sufficient and strong evidence that would sustain a judgment of conviction beyond reasonable doubt to the accused.

They maintained that the testimonies of the witnesses were hearsay, noting that they were convicted criminals who are unreliable and untrustworthy.

The two witnesses were Rodolfo Magleo and Nonilo Arile, who have both recanted their testimonies against De Lima.

Magleo earlier accused De Lima of benefitting from the illegal drug operations of big-time drug lords in the New Bilibid Prison during her term as the secretary of the Department of Justice.

Arile said the funds are intended to fund De Lima’s senatorial candidacy in 2016.

Three drug-related charges were filed against De Lima during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

These charges came amid De Lima’s strong criticisms against Duterte’s drug war.

She was arrested and detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City in February 2017.

The two other drug charges against De Lima have been dismissed in February 2021 and May 2023 after the series of recantation of the witnesses, which include self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.

She was released in November after the Muntinlupa Court granted her bail petition for her remaining drug case. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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