By Vann Marlo M. Villegas, Reporter
DETAINED opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima on Friday refused to enter her plea in a Muntinlupa City court in connection with drug charges filed against her, saying these were fabricated.
Ms. de Lima, during her arraignment at the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 205, maintained that the charges against her were not true.
“How can I plead to something that is bogus, fabricated, trumped-up? I’m not at all recognizing the validity or legitimacy of this trial. I cannot, your honor,” Ms. de Lima said.
With the senator’s refusal to enter plea, the court entered a not guilty plea for her in accordance with the Rules of Court.
This is the third case in which the former justice secretary refused to enter her plea, after her first arraignment on July 27 last year and a second arraignment on Aug. 10 also last year.
Ms. de Lima, a leading critic of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s drug war, has been detained since February 2017.
The Department of Justice charged the senator over her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary.
The Supreme Court in October 2017 voted to dismiss for lack of merit Ms. de Lima’s petition to nullify the arrest warrant against her issued by the Muntinlupa court.