Reigh John Bench Almendras
Sen. Leila De Lima during a press conference at the Philippine Senate. Photo courtesy of Francis R. Malasig/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Former Senator Leila de Lima is set to be free after the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 206 granted her bail amounting to P300,000. She was in detention for almost seven years.
“The totality of the evidence presented by the prosecution, the Court is of the firm view that accused De Lima. Bucayu, Dayan, Sanchez and Decera should be allowed to post bail as the prosecution was not able to discharge its burden of establishing that the guilt of the said accused is strong,” the decision stated.
Criminal Case No. 17-167, a case alleging the former senator’s toleration in the “widespread drug trade” inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City is the last pending case of the former senator alongside co-accused former Bureau of Corrections (BC) director Franklin Bucayu, former aides Ronnie Dayan and Joenel Sanchez, and alleged bagman Jose Adrian Dera.
The prosecution committee was already done presenting arguments, and the defense team will most likely file a demurrer, meaning they will request the court to dismiss the charge outright without the need to present their own pieces of evidence.
The other two cases attached to the name of the former senator were already acquitted in 2021 and 2022.
Former Senator Leila de Lima is known to be one of the major critics of the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, publicly condemning the crimes against humanity by the then-president through the controversial War on Drugs.
She was also the chairperson of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) in 2009 and initiated an investigation against the killings organized by the Davao Death Squad (DDS). Duterte, then-mayor of Davao City, took part in a public inquiry spearheaded by de Lima herself.
De lima tags cases filed against her as forms of retaliation by former President Duterte.