Court junks appeals of De Lima, Dayan in drug case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 5) — Detained Senator Leila de Lima’s drug case with co-accused Ronnie Dayan stays as a Muntinlupa court stood by its order denying their appeal to have it thrown out.

De Lima and Dayan, her former driver and bodyguard, separately filed a demurrer to evidence – a motion to dismiss a case for insufficiency of evidence, as well as a petition for bail. Branch 205 of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court denied their pleas on February 17, while De Lima and Dayan filed their motions for reconsideration five days later.

In an omnibus order on Friday, the court reaffirmed its earlier decision, adding that De Lima and Dayan “must present their evidence to prove their innocence of the crime charged.”

The opposition senator and former head of the independent Commission on Human Rights is charged with “conspiring and confederating” with Dayan to abet the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison while she was Justice Secretary in 2012.

Dayan earlier testified that he accepted money from suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa on De Lima’s order. The senator, however, said her accusers turned Dayan against her.

She has maintained her innocence, calling evidence presented against her "fabricated" and her arrest a punishment for questioning the Duterte administration's war on drugs that has left thousands dead.

De Lima is facing two other drug cases, one of which was earlier dismissed by the Muntinlupa court. The demurrer to evidence of her co-accused Jose Adrian Dera was junked but he was allowed to post bail. Dera allegedly helped solicit money from convicted criminals for De Lima’s election campaign in 2016, but the court ruled that “no link between the two accused was proven.”