Sen. Leila de Lima (C) leaves the Philippine Senate in Pasay City, Philippines, on February 23, 2017, after she was arrested. Her bail before her trial was denied on Wednesday. File Photo by Joseph Vidal/Philippine Senate Public Relations and information bureau
June 7 (UPI) -- A Philippines court ruled on Wednesday that former Sen. Leila de Lima, a vocal critic of former President Rodrigo Duterte, must stay in prison until the last of three drug cases against her is heard later this month.
De Lima, who has been in prison for more than six years on drug charges filed by Duterte when he was in office, was cleared of one of the charges in May and had another one dropped. But a Muntinlupa court cited the strength of the last charge in denying her bail.
"Wherefore, premises considered, the instant petitions and motions for bail are hereby denied," Judge Romeo Buenaventura wrote in his ruling on Wednesday. "The presentation of the prosecution's evidence-in-chief set on June 19 and 26, all at 2:00 [local time] in the afternoon shall proceed as scheduled."
De Lima is charged with six others in a conspiracy to commit drug trading in a prison, in accusations that are similar to ones that already have been dropped and cleared. Her attorneys said the prosecution has failed to show evidence of de Lima's involvement.
Also charged in the case are former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Jesus Bucayu; Bucayu's former staff, Wilfredo Elli; inmate Jaybee Sebastian; Ronnie Dayan, de Lima's former security aide Joenel Sanchez; and Jad Dera. Sebastian died in 2020.
The court, though, admitted that there have been inconsistencies noted among witnesses but not enough to throw out the case.
"While the Court notes that indeed there were inconsistencies and contradictions in the statements of the prosecution witnesses, the same is not sufficient to discredit the credibility of their testimonies," the court said.