De Lima admits blunder in handling Urbina case

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JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday admitted that her department made a mistake in handling the case of Joan Urbina, who was arrested in 2007 on suspicion that she peddled drugs.

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The Court of Appeals ordered the release of Urbina who was jailed for five years even if no formal charges were filed against her.

De Lima said the prosecutor who handled the case had also admitted his blunder.

“Inamin nung handling prosecutor na kasalanan niya. Pero inaako ko yan kasalanan ng mga nasa baba skin kasalanan ko rin but of course its humanly impossible to monitor all case here (The prosecutor admitted that his mistake, but I also am responsible. It’s my fault,)” de Lima said. “As head of the institution, I am answerable.”

‘I’m waiting for the result of the internal affairs unit investigation to see what sanctions to recommend (against the prosecutor), she added.

The appellate court held that the filing of the case against Urbina was made beyond the period prescribed under pertinent rules of the Department of Justice.

The information against Urbina was only filed on May 9, 2013, or after five years after she was arrested.

The CA ruled that de Lima, Prosecutor Claro Arellano, and the other prosecutors who handled the case did not explain the delay in the filing of the case in court.

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