DOJ plea to con­sol­i­date De Lima cases de­nied

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By PERSEUS ECHEMINADA

The Muntinlupa City Re­gional Trial Court (RTC) has de­nied the mo­tion of the De­part­ment of Jus­tice to con­sol­i­date three crim­i­nal cases filed against Sen. Leila de Lima.

In a two-page order dated March 30, Judge Juanita Guer­rero of RTC Branch 204 said the court finds no merit to con­sol­i­date the cases in RTC 204, 205 and 206.

“The court finds no merit to con­sol­i­date the three afore­men­tioned cases to one court be­cause the ac­cused… are dif­fer­ent and cases in­volve dif­fer­ence in­ci­dents,” Guer­rero said.

She said con­sol­i­da­tion of the cases would lead to pro­longed trial.

De Lima is fac­ing three charges in re­la­tion to her al­leged col­lu­sion with in­mates and pro­tec­tion of the il­le­gal drugs trade at the New Bili­bid Prison in Muntinlupa in ex­change for money dur­ing her time as jus­tice sec­re­tary of the Aquino ad­min­is­tra­tion.

She is ac­cused of violating Sec­tion 5 of the Dan­ger­ous Drugs Act that pro­hibits the sale, trad­ing, ad­min­is­tra­tion, dis­pen­sa­tion, de­liv­ery, dis­tri­bu­tion and trans­porta­tion of il­le­gal drugs.

The Muntinlupa City RTC had raf­fled off the cases to Branches 204, 205 and 206 but the DOJ noted that the cases against De Lima arose from a sim­i­lar set of facts and that there were com­mon par­ties and is­sues.

“Thus, the three cases may be tried jointly by one branch of the Re­gional Trial Court in Muntinlupa City pur­suant to Rule 119, Sec­tion 22, of the Re­vised Rules of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure,” the mo­tion read.

Se­nior State Pros­e­cu­tor Peter Ong, head of the pros­e­cu­tion panel, said they have al­ready filed a mo­tion for con­sid­er­a­tion for the con­sol­i­da­tion of the three cases.

How­ever, De Lima’s lawyer Fili­bon Tac­ar­don said they would op­pose any move to con­sol­i­date the cases.

“The con­sol­i­da­tion of the cases will vi­o­late the rights of Se­na­tor De Lima to speedy trial,” he said.

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