MANILA – The camp of former senator Leila De Lima is asking the Muntinlupa court trying her for narcotics-related charges to turn down the motion of prosecutors for the reopening of the trial against her.

In a five page motion, De Lima’s defense counsels led by Teddy Esteban Rigoroso urged the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 to deny the government prosecution panel’s motion for reconsideration to reopen the trial against the embattled former lawmaker.

The parties both agreed last April 17 to terminate the proceedings and to submit the case for decision of the court. The Department of Justice (DOJ), however, subsequently sought a reopening of the proceedings to allow the testimony of Public Attorney Office (PAO) lawyer Demiteer Huerta as rebuttal evidence.

Huerta had been the lawyer for former Bureau of Corrections Deputy Director Rafael Ragos who had recanted his earlier testimony against De Lima in connection with an alleged racket for her to supposedly collect hush money from incarcerated drug lords at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) to bankroll her senatorial campaign when she was still secretary of justice.

“Ultimately, the move (by the prosecution) to re-open the case at bar fails to present and manifest injustice sought to be avoided,” the defense panel said.

“Simply put, these criminal proceedings cannot be held hostage by the lack of diligence of the prosecution which had six years prosecuting the same. The reopening of a criminal case earlier declared to be terminated cannot be done whimsically, capriciously and/or unreasonably. Neither can it be made dependent on the ever-changing moods of the (prosecution) panel,” the defense added.