De Lima lawyers oppose DOJ plea to reopen her trial before RTC
De Lima lawyers oppose DOJ plea to reopen her trial before RTC
De Lima lawyers oppose DOJ plea to reopen her trial before RTC
by Daylight Abas20 April 2023
Photo courtesy: Reuters

The defense team of former Senator Leila De Lima has asked the Muntinlupa court that is hearing her case on narcotics-related allegations to deny prosecutors' request to reopen the case.

In a five-page document, De Lima's defense attorneys, led by Teddy Esteban Rigoroso, asked the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 to deny the government prosecution panel's petition for reconsideration to restart the trial against the beleaguered former senator.

On April 17, the parties decided to end the procedures and submit the case to the court for decision.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) thereafter sought a reopening of the proceedings so that Public Attorney Office (PAO) counsel Demiteer Huerta may testify as rebuttal evidence.


"Ultimately, the move (by the prosecution) to reopen the case at bar fails to present and manifest injustice sought to be avoided," the defense panel said.

"Simply put, these criminal proceedings cannot be held hostage by the lack of diligence of the prosecution, which spent six years prosecuting the same. The reopening of a criminal case earlier declared to be terminated cannot be done whimsically, capriciously, or unreasonably. Neither can it be made dependent on the ever-changing moods of the prosecution panel," the defense added.

Huerta represented former Bureau of Corrections Deputy Director Rafael Ragos, who recanted his earlier testimony against De Lima in connection with an alleged racket for her to collect hush money from incarcerated drug lords at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) to fund her senatorial campaign while she was still secretary of justice.

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