OFFICE OF SEN. LEILA DE LIMA/RELEASE

A MUNTINLUPA judge has withdrawn from the drug trafficking case against one of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s staunchest critics.

In a four-page order, Judge Liezel A. Aquiatan granted Senator Leila M. de Lima’s plea for inhibition even if it was “unfounded and totally unfair.”

Ms. De Lima sought the magistrate’s inhibition in May, accusing her of committing “blatant errors” in handling her case.

The lawmaker said Ms. Aquiatan had validated inadmissible evidence presented by government prosecutors, cherry-picked parts of the testimonies by witnesses, disregarded the testimonies of defense witnesses and added “her own versions of the narrative which were never even testified on by the incredible witnesses she chose to believe.”

Ms. Aquiatan in February junked one of Ms. De Lima’s drug cases but rejected her plea to dismiss a second case, citing evidence of the senator’s guilt. Another Muntinlupa court is hearing a third case. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago