Palace leaves De Lima's fate up to courts as key witness recanted statements

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2022 02:48 PM

Detained Senator Leila de Lima waves to her supporters as she arrives at the Quezon City RTC on Thursday, August 2, 2018, to attend a hearing on her disobedience to summons case filed by Representative Reynaldo Umali. ABS-CBN News
Detained Senator Leila de Lima waves to her supporters as she arrives at the Quezon City RTC on Thursday, August 2, 2018, to attend a hearing on her disobedience to summons case filed by Representative Reynaldo Umali. ABS-CBN News


MANILA — Malacañang on Wednesday downplayed Senator Leila De Lima's comments against government officials for her continuing detention even after two individuals, including a key witness, already recanted their statements connecting her to the illegal drug trade.

Acting Palace spokesperson Martin Andanar said the opposition senator's statements "have nothing to do" with the government's drug war. 

"The case of Senator De Lima has nothing to do with her views with the administration's campaign against illegal drugs or her affiliation of the political opposition," Andanar said in a press briefing. 

"It is in the courts right now, let us simply let the law run its course," he added. 

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) official Rafael Ragos this week recanted his affidavits and testimonies against De Lima, saying he was only threatened by then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to make the false accusations. 

According to Ragos, a key witness to De Lima's case, she "is incapable of doing anything illegal".

Days earlier, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa also retracted his statements against the senator and the allegations against her are not true.

Andanar earlier said Espinosa's move would not affect De Lima's pending cases since he is not a state witness. 

De Lima however questioned the Department of Justice (DOJ) for keeping her under detention. She has been detained at the PNP Custodial Center since early 2017. 

 “The DOJ is supposed to search for truth. Ngayon, the DOJ wants to bury the truth… dahil ba mga opisyales nila ang sangkot?" she said in a statement. 

She reminded the DOJ that its purpose was to "serve the ends of justice" and not use the law to oppress.

“Once they lost the moral certainty to have me convicted beyond reasonable doubt, it is their duty to withdraw the cases," said De Lima. 

De Lima still has 2 drugs cases pending before a local court. A case was junked last year.