A WITNESS of the prosecution team in the illegal drugs case against Sen. Leila de Lima has told the Muntinlupa City trial court that the detained senator had no involvement in the supposed unlawful trading of prohibited drugs inside the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) when she was still the head of the Department of Justice.
Witness Noel Martinez was cross examined by defense lawyers during last Tuesday’s hearing at Branch 256 of the Muntinlupa RTC.
Defense counsel Rolly Peoro, in a statement, said Martinez told the court that he was not aware of the alleged drug transactions involving De Lima.
“Sinabi niya na una, wala siyang personal knowledge sa mga drug transactions. Wala rin daw silang personal involvement sa kahit anong drug transactions,” Peoro referring to the witness’ supposed testimony.
“Nilinaw niya na kahit kaninong akusado – mula kay Senator De Lima, kay General Jesus Bucayu (former Bureau of Corrections chief), kay Joenel Sanchez, kay Ronnie Dayan wala siyang personal transaction, lalo na sa droga,” Peoro also said.
He said Martinez likewise told the court that he had no personal drug transactions inside the NBP, contrary to the prosecution’s presentation that he was among those who had illegal narcotics dealings with De Lima and her henchmen.
Martinez, who is serving time for kidnapping-for-ransom charges, was one of about a dozen Bilibid inmates, which included Jaybee Sebastian, who were tapped by the prosecution to testify against the senator. Sebastian succumbed died of COVID-19 last year.
“For us, his statements would weaken the claim of the prosecution,” Peoro said, adding the testimony would damage the prosecution’s allegation that De Lima was supposedly part of a conspiracy to trade illegal drugs inside the national penitentiary.
It will be recalled that De Lima has two pending demurrers to evidence filed before Branch 205 of the Muntinlupa RTC where she is facing another set of drug-related charges.
In her demurrer plea, De Lima asked the court to junk the case, citing the weak evidence of the prosecution.
A demurrer to evidence is basically a petition to dismiss a case due to weak evidence presented by the prosecution.
Last year, De Lima’s camp said an investigator of the Anti-Money Laundering Council who took the witness stand for the prosecution testified that he did not see any suspicious transactions that would link De Lima to the narcotics trade.
Another prosecution witness, drug convict Vicente Sy, also told the court last year that he did not give any money to De Lima contrary to his earlier claim that he delivered half a million pesos for her senatorial campaign in 2016.
Sought for comment, lawyer Honey Delgado, spokesperson of the Office of the Prosecutor General, said the prosecution is confident of their case but that she cannot comment further because of the sub judice rule.
“We cannot discuss the merits of the case because of the sub judice rule. However, the prosecution believes in the strength of its case,” Delgado said.