June 9, 2017
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila De Lima is set to attend a hearing before a Quezon City court today in connection with the disobedience to summons case filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
De Lima’s spokesperson Ferdie Maglalang yesterday said the Senator will attend the hearing on the prosecution’s initial presentation of evidence before the QC Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 34 at 2 p.m.
The court proceeded to hear De Lima’s case after it junked her motion for reconsideration due to lack of merit.
In a four-page resolution dated May 31, 2017, Judge Ma. Ludmila De Pio Lim of the QC MTC Branch 34 said De Lima’s motion contained “a mere reharsh of averments as contained in previous pleadings.”
The Senator, in her counter-affidavit and subsequent petition to the court, questioned the court’s jurisdiction, arguing that the Sandiganbayan should hear her case instead.
De Lima’s camp also maintained that her advice to her former bodyguard and lover Ronnie Dayan, via text message, did not qualify as an act of inducing disobedience to summons.
But the judge noted that “a cursory reading of the motion would readily reveal that the instant motion is a mere reiteration” of the Senator’s counter-affidavit dated and filed last January 13.
“Thus, the court feels that a reexamination of its earlier resolution is an exercise of futility, especially with respect to the issue of jurisdiction over the offense charged,” the judge added.
Last February, the court issued a resolution, which declared that probable cause exists to formally charge De Lima for violation of Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code.
The Senator then filed a motion for reconsideration.
But during De Lima’s arraignment on March 13, the court denied the motion for being filed out of time.
De Lima has filed then an instant motion, which prayed that the court reconsider its ruling and “consequently, give due to the first motion.”
Meanwhile, House Committee on Justice Chairman Reynaldo Umali was also set to appear in court today.
Umali has been subpoenaed by the court as the prosecution’s first witness.
It was Umali and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who filed a complaint against De Lima before the DOJ last December.
They accused the Senator of violating Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code for allegedly instructing Dayan to ignore the summons issued by Congress.
Dayan was invited to attend the Congressional inquiry on the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) last October but was ignored.
After Dayan’s arrest in November, the Congressional inquiry was reopened.
During the hearing, it was revealed that De Lima instructed Dayan, through a text message to the latter’s daughter, not to appear in Congress.
In filing the case against the Senator last December, the DOJ said De Lima has “willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully” advised Dayan not to testify during the House inquiry on the NBP’s illegal drug trade.
De Lima is presently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the NBP while she was Justice Secretary from 2010 to 2015. – MBL