De Lima allowed to post bail

MANILA. Detained ex-senator Leila de Lima reacts as she goes out of the Muntinlupa Trial Court to attend her trial on May 12, 2023 in Muntinlupa, Philippines.
MANILA. Detained ex-senator Leila de Lima reacts as she goes out of the Muntinlupa Trial Court to attend her trial on May 12, 2023 in Muntinlupa, Philippines.AP

A MUNTINLUPA court granted on Monday, November 13, 2023, the bail petition of former senator Leila de Lima for her remaining drug case, which means that she will be out of jail anytime soon after almost seven years of detention.

The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 granted the bail not only for De Lima but also for her co-accused, former Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) director Franklin Bucayu, former aides/driver Ronnie Dayan and Joenel Sanchez, and alleged bagman Jose Adrian Derain in the amount of P300,000 each.

The court said the prosecution “was not able to discharge its burden of establishing that the guilt of the said accused is strong,” hence, the granting of the bail petition.

De Lima, a staunch critic of former President Rodrigo Duterte and his drug war, was accused of involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country by allegedly accepting drug money from convicted drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison during her stint as the secretary of justice from 2010 to 2015.

She has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City since February 2017.

Two other drug charges against De Lima have been dismissed after the series of recantation of the witnesses, which include self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.

In April, Espinosa recanted his claims against De Lima, saying he was just forced to issue such due to his threats against his and his family’s life.

Espinosa dragged De Lima in his illegal drug transaction in various congressional investigations since 2016 and this was among the basis of the charges filed against the former senator that resulted in her detention.

Espinosa’s alleged former driver/bodyguard, Marcelo Adorco, also retracted all his claims against De Lima that she brought her bribe money from his boss due to pressure from the police.

In August 2022, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed charges of direct and indirect bribery charges against De Lima and her former bodyguard Ronnie Dayan, in relation to Espinosa and Adorco’s claims, due to lack of probable cause.

Former Bucor officer-in-charge and deputy director for intelligence of the National Bureau of Investigation Rafael Marcos Ragos, one of De Lima’s co-accused in one of her drug charges, also admitted making up lies to link former justice secretary to the illegal drugs trade.

He earlier executed an affidavit saying that he together with former intelligence agent Jovencio Ablen Jr. delivered two P5 million to De Lima’s residence in November and December 2012.

He claimed that the money came from convicted drug personalities including Peter Co.

Ragos said he was ordered by then justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to manufacture false information against De Lima. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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