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Jailed Duterte critic again asks trial court to let her post bail

SENATOR Leila M. de Lima on Monday asked a Muntinlupa trial court for the third time that she be allowed to post bail, citing weak evidence in her drug trafficking case.

In a 62-page motion, the lawmaker said “it remains unclear” when and how exactly she had conspired to commit drug trafficking.

Testimonies from prosecution witnesses only pointed that jail convicts had allegedly given money for Ms. de Lima’s senatorial campaign.

She also said the prosecution would want the case to fall under the law against illegal drugs without proving the existence of a single gram of illegal drugs in relation to the case.

Ms. de Lima, one of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s staunchest critics, said the testimonies “have questionable probative value and/or are irrelevant, incredible, biased, self-serving and based on hearsay.”

In the four years of trial, the prosecution had only presented five witnesses, she added. Ms. de Lima also said she was not a flight risk

The senator said her continued detention makes her unable to attend Senate sessions and other important meetings.

“This is a disservice to the Filipino people who gave her the mandate to represent them in the Senate, especially during these trying times.”

Ms. de Lima is on trial for allegedly abetting the illegal drug trade in the country’s jails when she was still Justice secretary. She was accused of extorting millions of pesos from a drug lord that she allegedly used to finance her senatorial campaign in 2016.

She has been jailed at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame since February 2017. Several witnesses against Ms. de Lima were drug convicts serving time at the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City.

The European Union (EU) Parliament earlier adopted a resolution urging the Philippines to free Ms. Lima and look at extrajudicial killings in Mr. Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

The EU lawmakers also asked the European Commission to revoke tax perks enjoyed by the country if the state fails to address human rights violations.

An Anti-Money Laundering Council investigator also said investigations found no money flowed from the bank accounts of the senator and her co-accused. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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