MANILA - Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. on Friday refuted Sen. Leila de Lima's allegations that he favored one of the convicts who had accused her of drug links.
This after De Lima cited Velasco's alleged ties with drug convict German Agojo in seeking his inhibition in her petition against her detention over drug charges.
In a statement, Velasco denied De Lima's claims that he allegedly favored the convicted drug lord in a case the high court handled 8 years ago.
"Justice Velasco does not know nor has he met Mr. Agojo and has no relationship whatsoever with the alleged drug lord," the statement read.
Velasco said De Lima's motion for him to inhibit may simply be an attempt to gain "advantage" with her pending case.
Citing an investigative report, De Lima had alleged in her plea that Velasco initially pushed for Agojo's acquittal on his appeal of his drug conviction in 2009 but was blocked by Associate Justice Arturo Brion.
De Lima added that Velasco, the sole justice in the handling division who sided with Agojo, eventually joined the other justices in upholding his conviction after an "intense discussion" with Brion.
For his part, Velasco said he did not file any dissent to the ponencia or majority decision of then Supreme Court Associate Justice Dante Tinga in reference to Agojo's case.
He added that De Lima's claims were based on a news report by veteran journalist Maritess Vitug, who he charged with libel before the Manila Regional Trial Court.
Velasco said he later dropped the charges "out of compassion."