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No consolidation of De Lima cases

A Muntinlupa City court has denied the Department of Justice’s (DoJ’s) motion to consolidate the three drug cases filed against detained Senator Leila de Lima.

In her decision, Judge Juanita Guerrero of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204, who issued the warrant of arrest against De Lima in February, found no merit in consolidating the three cases, saying that “the accused in said cases are different and the cases involve different incidents.”

“Further, the consolidation would lead to prolonged trial,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero is handling case 17-165 filed by government prosecutors against De Lima, Rafael Marcos Ragos, and Ronnie Dayan, accusing them of illegal drug trade in violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The DoJ filed three separate drug cases against De Lima in Muntinlupa courts and the prosecution wanted Guerrero to consolidate the cases, saying that these have similar sets of facts and common parties and issues.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong said they have filed a motion for reconsideration before Guerrero to overturn the decision.

Ong said there’s “commonality” in the three cases and consolidating them will save government resources.
(Jonathan M. Hicap)