JUSTICE Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has urged the public to respect the decision of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court, which denied former senator Leila de Lima’s request for bail in connection with charges related to illegal drugs.
In an chance interview, Remulla emphasized the importance of respecting the court’s ruling.
Remulla also pointed out that De Lima’s legal team may have failed to demonstrate that the evidence presented by the prosecution was weak, resulting in the denial of her bail application.
Despite being recently acquitted of charges related to her alleged involvement in illegal drugs by another branch of the Muntinlupa RTC, De Lima has encountered a setback as her motion for provisional liberty was denied by Branch 256 of the Muntinlupa RTC.
While De Lima was cleared of illegal drug charges during her tenure as justice secretary under the Aquino administration by Branch 204 of the Muntinlupa RTC, she is still embroiled in a separate case before Branch 256 where her bail application was pending.
In a 35-page order dated June 7, Judge Romeo Buenaventura of Muntinlupa RTC 256 stated that the court did not consider De Lima’s recent hostage-taking experience as “injurious to health” or a threat to her life, unlike in other bail cases. Instead, the court deemed it an isolated incident.
Buenaventura, however, clarified that finding the evidence of guilt to be strong does not prejudge the final outcome of the case. The determination of the accused’s culpability or innocence will be based on all the evidence presented by the parties and will only be decided after a full trial on the merits.
The charges against De Lima were filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and accuse her of involvement in the illegal drug trade during her time as justice secretary under the Aquino administration. She is currently detained at the Philippine National Police – Custodial Center.
Meanwhile, De Lima’s continued detention has drawn criticism from Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares,
“Sen. Leila de Lima should be released,” said Colmenares, adding the apparent injustice in her ongoing detention.