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Justice dep’t appeals ruling

The Department of Justice has asked the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court to reconsider its ruling that rejected the consolidation of the three criminal cases of detained Sen. Leila M. de Lima involving illegal drugs trading.

“While we respect the court, we filed a motion for reconsideration of its decision,” Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes said in a text message yesterday.

DoJ prosecutors led by Senior State Prosecutor Peter Ong filed a motion to consolidate De Lima’s three cases. But in an order released last week, RTC Judge Juanita Guerrero denied the prosecution’s motion and held that consolidation of the cases would lead to prolonged trial.

“The court finds no merit to consolidate the three aforementioned cases to one court because the accused… are different and the cases involve different incidents,” the trial court’s resolution stated.

Guerrero agreed with De Lima’s camp that the consolidation would not really expedite the trial but would actually prolong it and that would violate the senator’s right to a speedy trial. (Rey G. Panaligan)