The Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court on Wednesday dumped the bid of detained Senator Leila de Lima and her co-accused Ronnie Dayan to have their drug charges dismissed through a plea for demurrer of evidence.
In an Omnibus Order dated February 17, Judge Liezel A. Aquiatan denied the separate “Demurrer to Evidence” of De Lima and Dayan, who both sought the dismissal of the complaint on grounds the prosecution had weak evidence to pin them down on the drug charges in connection with their alleged involvement in drug trading and trafficking inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
“The separate Demurrer to Evidence of accused Leila de Lima and Ronnie Dayan are both denied,” the court ruled.
A demurrer to evidence is a plea for the dismissal of a complaint due to the prosecution’s weak evidence presented before the court.
Judge Aquiatan also denied the plea for bail of both accused.
“The petition for bail filed by accused De Lima and Dayan are likewise denied,” the order said.
The court’s denial of the accused’s demurrer to evidence paves the way for the court hearing for the reception of the defense evidence set on March 5, 2021 at 9 am.
In a separate ruling, the judge also granted De Lima’s demurrer to evidence in Case No. 17-166.
The grant of the plea for demurrer to evidence would mean that De Lima would be acquitted of the drug charges in Criminal Case 17-166.
However, the demurrer to evidence of De Lima’s co-accused Jad De Vera is denied.
“The Demurrer to Evidence filed by accused Leila de Lima is hereby granted,” the court said, adding that the grant of the plea for demurrer to evidence “is tantamount to her acquittal.”
The court set the hearing for the reception of evidence for accused De Vera on March 5.
Pending before the RTC, Branch 205, is the complaint filed by the Department of Justice filed charges against De Lima accusing her of violating Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, particularly Section 26 (b) and Section 5 pertaining to drug sale.
Meanwhile, a prosecution witness has testified before the Muntinlupa City RTC that he witnessed alleged drug lord Jaybee Sebastian handing over to then Justice Secretary and now detained Senator De Lima P1.4 million in drug money at the former’s so-called “Bahay na Bato” inside the New Bilibid Prison sometime in 2014.
During the continuation of the hearing on Tuesday of the drug trading cases against De Lima and other pending case before the Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 256, the Department of Justice prosecutors presented NBP inmate Joel D. Capones who stated under oath that on December 2013, fellow NBP inmate Sebastian asked him to engage in illegal drug trading inside and out of the NBP in order to raise funds to support the senatorial bid of accused De Lima who was then the DOJ Secretary.