The detainee senator Leila De Lima has asked one of the three judges who handled the drug case against her to ban herself because of "manifest partiality, bias and hostility."
In a 13-page motion, De Lima's acting presidential judge Lorna Navarro Domingo of Muntinlupa's regional Trial Courthall 206 asked to refrain from further hearing and execution of the trial against her case.
According to her counsel, the Senator said that Navarro early in her motion to disqualify 13 previously convicted witnesses, despite her own order, gave them five days to respond to the prosecutor's statement.
"This means that the Honorable Judge already had a predetermined resolution on the Movement even before the Defendant submitted its Reply, which is clearly a prejudice that reflects the clear bias, bias and hostility of the honorable judge against the accused," read the motion .
De Lima sought the disqualification of the convicted witnesses and insisted that the law, in particular Republic Act No. 6981 – or the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act – stipulates that the witness may not be convicted of any crime with moral condemnation.
The witnesses against the senator are usually convicted drug traffickers, robbers and carnappers.
The Prosecution filed an opposition against her motion to disqualify the witnesses.
The senator was given until 24 September to submit an answer.
On the same day, however, the court issued a ruling in which the motion was rejected. The court also planned that one of the witnesses, a convicted criminal, Engelberto Durano, take the witness test.
The court on Tuesday rearranged the trial. Attorney Filibon Tacardon said the court chose not to listen until the motion to prevent is resolved.
"Tinanggap naman ni Judge after hindi na muna siya magbibista o hind muna niya diding yung kaso pendulum hindi nasty-solve itong motion for inhibition," Tacardo told reporters.
The Lima was originally accused of "illegal drug trafficking", but the charge was changed to "conspiracy to commit illegal drug trafficking."
This is not the first time that De Lima has sought the foreclosure of a judge who deals with her case.
In November 2017, she asked Judge Juanita Guerrero of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 to stop herself from the case.
She accused the judge of bias in issuing her arrest warrant, not immediately following her motion to destroy, and in planning her accusation despite the pending motion to destroy the RTC and a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court. .
At the beginning of this year, Guerrero turned away from the case. /ATM
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