DOJ chief: De Lima conviction ‘inevitable’

February 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The conviction of detained Sen. Leila de Lima is “inevitable” despite her recent acquittal in one of three drug cases against her, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Friday.

State prosecutors are banking on the Muntinlupa regional trial court’s earlier ruling denying De Lima’s demurrer to evidence and petition for bail, Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

“In denying Senator De Lima’s demurrer to evidence, the trial court concluded that, unless rebutted, the prosecution’s evidence is sufficient to convict the accused. In denying the senator’s petition for bail, the trial court found that the evidence against the accused is strong,” Guevarra said.

He added that the burden of proof now shifts to De Lima’s camp and if she fails to overcome “the prima facie of guilt, the outcome appears inevitable.”

Guevarra’s statement came after he was asked about the prosecution panel’s possible victory against De Lima based on the confession of state witness Joel Capones, who testified that he allegedly saw convicted bank robber Jaybee Sebastian hand De Lima, then DOJ chief, over P1.4 million in drug money in 2014 for her senatorial bid.

Capones is set to undergo another cross-examination on Feb. 23.

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