De Lima arraignment for drug case deferred for 4th time

MANILA The Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 205 has again deferred Friday the arraignment of drug cases filed against detained Senator Leila De Lima in connection with her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

The arraignment was reset in order to resolve first the De Lima camp's omnibus motion to reverse the court's Feb. 21, 2018 order granting the prosecution's motion to admit the amended information from the original charge of drug trading to conspiracy to trade drugs.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion amending the information regarding the illegal drug trading charge filed against the senator.

The motion seeks to revise the charge against de Lima and her co-accused from illegal drug trading to conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.

The reset of De Lima's arraignment has been rescheduled several times since June last year.

From June, the arraignment was moved to Sept. 25, 2017 then to Oct. 13, 2017, and was moved again to Nov. 24, 2017 and was reset on March 16, 2018.

Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz rescheduled the arraignment on May 18.

Separate cases for three counts of drug trafficking were filed against De Lima before the Muntinlupa RTC which were assigned to three different courts.

Aside from Branch 206, the two other cases against De Lima which accused her of receiving millions from illegal drug trade in the NBP are now being handled by Branch 204 and Branch 205.

The first count in Branch 204 also included De Lima's former driver and alleged lover Ronnie Dayan, who is now detained at the Muntinlupa City Jail.

On the other hand, De Lima is joined by her nephew Jose Adrian Dera in the second count in Branch 205.

Lastly, the third count in Branch 206 included former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu, his alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli, high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian, De Lima's former bodyguard Jonel Sanchez, Dayan and Dera, also as accused.

De Lima is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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