The remaining drug case against former Senator Leila de Lima has been raffled off to another Muntinlupa court, her lawyer said.
Filibon Tacardon, De Lima’s legal counsel, said the case went to Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 206 Presiding Judge Gener Gito.
The change of venue came after Judge Romeo Buenaventura inhibited from the case on allegations that he failed to disclose that his brother had served as a lawyer for the late Oriental Mindoro lawmaker Reynaldo Umali.
Umali led a congressional inquiry in 2016 into De Lima’s alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison in exchange for election campaign funds.
The case was then raffled off to Branch 204 Judge Abraham Joseph Alcantara, who acquitted De Lima in another drug case.
However, Alcantara also recused himself from the case after the prosecution moved for his inhibition “to ensure a just and fair administration of justice.”
Alcantara said he inhibited “not because the prosecution’s assertions are true but to put to rest any questions against his credibility, integrity, and fairness.”
De Lima has been detained at Camp Crame since February 2017. She has repeatedly denied the charges against her.
In February 2021, Branch 205 junked one of her three drug cases. Alcantara acquitted De Lima in another case in May.