Drilon urges judge handling De Lima’s case to put her on house arrest

Former Senate President Franklin Drilon on Monday urged the judge handling the case of former senator Leila de Lima to “take a second look” at the evidence in her case and allow her to be on house arrest.

In an interview at the Senate, Drilon, who returned to the upper chamber to unveil the Legacy Wall with his fellow lawmakers, said the matter is the prerogative of the judge.  “If she is inclined not to grant bail, may we request that Senator De Lima be allowed detention in her residence,” he said.

“For others, hospital detention is allowed. The same here: The legal issue is, where should she be detained? That is the power and prerogative of the judge,” he added.

Drilon, who served as Justice secretary for six years from 1990 to 1995, made an appeal following the foiled hostage-taking of De Lima last Sunday.

‘Free Leila’

Meanwhile, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros reiterated her call to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to set De Lima free.

“As to the offer of the President, I really believe that she should be transferred not to another detention center, but returned to freedom, which has been her right, based on truth, based on justice these past six years,” Hontiveros said in a separate interview.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said he would not oppose any actions to free De Lima, who has been detained since 2017 for allegedly pocketing payoffs from drug lords when she was still the justice secretary to raise money for her senatorial campaign in 2016.

Hontiveros expressed hope that the charges against the former lawmaker would soon be junked by the court.

“I really hope that not just her defense lawyers but the court itself and the whole justice system will take the step or steps to see that cases and accusations filed against her are found baseless,” she said.

“Even the testimonies and witnesses against her whom I mentioned earlier, more and more have been recanting their testimony,” she added.

At least three key witnesses have recanted their testimonies against De Lima.

Marcelo Adorco, the bodyguard and driver of self-confessed drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa and a key government witness, retracted his allegations against De Lima.

In his counter-affidavit, Adorco also withdrew his testimony against Espinosa, claiming that he was threatened and coerced to sign the affidavit against both Espinosa and De Lima.

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