MANILA, Philippines — In what seems to be an effort to bolster the case against Senator Leila de Lima, the prosecution is now seeking to amend all the three illegal drug trading charges.
The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 on Friday, heard the motion of the prosecution to modify the cases from illegal drug trading to conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.
Similar motions were already filed with the two other branches hearing De Lima’s cases.
A member of the prosecution team explained that the accusations and evidence would remain the same.
“Only to be more precise and to conform with the evidence, the allegations in the complaint. It will not in anyway prejudice the substantial rights of the accused,” said Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Ramoncito Ocampo, Jr.
But a lawyer for De Lima said the prosecution is only making up for the weakness in their case.
“Those are two different cases talaga na tingin namin ay ginawa nila ito para maiwasan ang fatal defect sa original information which is the absence of the actual drugs allegedly traded (Those are really two different cases. We think they did it to elude the fatal defect in the original information which is the absence of the actual drugs allegedly traded),” said Atty. Boni Tacardon, legal counsel of Sen. Leila de Lima.
For one, the prosecution has now alleged that inmates of the New Bilibid Prison were used to sell and trade illegal drugs.
This is a new accusation which is absent in the original case being handled by Judge Patria Manalastas de Leon and was never mentioned in the two other cases.
“Pag-aaralan nang husto ito para tingnan namin kung ano ang epekto nito sa kaso (We will study this thoroughly to determine its effects on the case),” said Atty. Tacardon.
This prompted Judge de Leon to cancel Friday’s arraignment of Senator De Lima.
Her lawyers were given 15 days to submit their comment or opposition to the amendment.
The prosecution was also given the same period to oppose De Lima’s motion praying with the court to reconsider its arrest order.
Judging by these developments, a prosecutor said that the arraignment will have to wait until early next year. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue