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De Lima asks court anew: Don’t let convicts testify against me

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Senator Leila de Lima continues to insist that 13 convicted criminals should not be allowed to testify against her.

The lawmaker has already filed a motion for reconsideration asking Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 206 to recall its ruling permitting the testimony of the 13 inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

“It is clear that despite the Court’s Order giving the defense counsel five days to file a reply, the Court disregarded its own order and ruled on the Motion to Disqualify Witnesses in flagrant violation of the right of the accused to due process,” she said in a statement.

“By ruling with undue haste and flagrant disregard, it has deprived herein accused of the opportunity to properly respond to the Comment/Opposition of the Panel,” she added.

Those she sought disqualified from testifying are prosecution witnesses Nonilo Arile, Jojo Baligad, Herbert Colanggo, Engelberto Durano, Rodolfo Magleo, Vicente Sy, Hans Tan, Froilan Trestiza, Peter Co, Noel Martinez, Joel Capones, German Agojo and Jaime Patcho.

However, RTC Branch 206 Judge Lorna Navarro-Domingo ruled that under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure “all persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make their known perception to others, may be witnesses.”

“Religious or political belief, interest in the outcome of the case, or conviction of a crime unless otherwise provided by law, shall not be ground for disqualification,” the magistrate cited.

De Lima insisted that they should not be allowed to testify since they are “convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude.”

The lawmaker is facing three drug charges before three branches of the Muntinlupa City RTC.

Under the three charges, she is accused of having been involved in the proliferation of the illegal drugs trade at the NBP in Muntinlupa City

De Lima is currently detained at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame, Quezon City.