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DoJ wants De Lima, lawyer cited in contempt for talking about trial

THE Department of Justice (DoJ) on Friday filed a motion asking the court to cite detained Senator Leila M. De Lima and her lawyer in contempt over public statements on trial proceedings.

The prosecutors said Ms. De Lima and her lawyer Filibon F. Tacardon violated the sub judice rule, which prohibits parties from discussing trial proceedings.

“The media disclosure by respondents Atty. Tacardon and Senator De Lima of misinformation is therefore considered an affront to the lawful proceedings of the Honorable Court, in their obvious desire to attack or insult the dignity and independence of the Court,” the DoJ said in its 39-page petition filed before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court, where Ms. De Lima faces three drug-related cases.

The contempt suit is rooted in Mr. Tacardon’s press releases and statements from September to November, which gave the media access to the testimonies regarding the trial proceedings.

The prosecutors cited the instance where Mr. Tacardon indicated in a public statement that Anti Money Laundering Council financial investigator Artemio L. Baculi Jr. and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency digital forensic examiner Krystal R. Caseñas told the court that “they did not find any transactions between the senator and the drug lords held at the national penitentiary.”

Such is an “affront to the lawful proceedings” of the court in their “obvious desire to attack or insult” the court’s independence,” they said.

The DoJ said reporters who wrote articles regarding Mr. Fabela’s statements will be presented as witnesses “should the instant petition be given due course.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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