MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila De Lima has hit the state's decision to drop charges against one of her co-accused in her drug case, calling it "suspicious."
Speaking to reporters during her court appearance on Nov. 16, De Lima slammed the Department of Justice's (DOJ) decision to withdraw drug charges against former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge (OIC) Rafael Ragos.
Ragos is one of her co-accused in a drug case stemming from her alleged involvement in the drug trade at the national penitentiary during her time as justice secretary.
Also accused is her former driver-lover Ronnie Dayan.
"It’s suspicious and fishy. By turning Ragos into a witness for the prosecution, it looks like there's a done deal already," De Lima said in an interview on the sidelines of her trial at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 on Thursday.
On Friday, the DOJ said it withdrew drug charges against Ragos, citing his disclosure on De Lima's alleged receipt of money from the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.
Last year, Ragos said in a House of Representatives inquiry that he delivered P10 million in drug payoffs to De Lima and Dayan on separate occasions.
De Lima has repeatedly dismissed all drug-related allegations against her as politically motivated lies.
"Pilit na pilit ang pagtatahi-tahi ng mga kasinungalingan ng mga 'testigo' kuno laban sa akin. These claims are as incredible and as clearly false as this administration's attempts to deny the existence of EJKs (extrajudicial killings)," De Lima said.
De Lima alleged that Ragos and Dayan "were either pressured or threatened" to testify against her.
She urged her former subordinates to tell the truth should they be called to testify in the case.
"Pakinggan sana nila ang kanilang konsensiya. Magpakatotoo sila. Magpakalalaki sila. Huwag na silang magsinungaling," she said.
The embattled senator has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame since February after several high-profile inmates said in a series of congressional hearings that she had a hand in the proliferation of drugs at the national penitentiary.