MANILA — Detained senator Leila de Lima has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review the illegal drug cases filed against her by the agency following the retraction of two witnesses.
“There is a need for the DOJ to review the drug cases it filed against me to determine if indeed these were prosecuted by the Panel of Prosecutors even after being told by Ragos that his testimony and all his allegations against me 'are all lies,'" De Lima said in a letter addressed to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra dated May 5, 2022.
“This review should include the other case as well (Criminal Case No. 17-167) because if the Panel of Prosecutors that handles both cases are capable of suborning false testimony in one case, then nothing prevents them from doing the same in the other cases,” she added.
The opposition senator said that if the statements of Rafael Ragos, a former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) official, are true, "then all the cases against me should be immediately withdrawn by the DOJ in order to prevent a further miscarriage of justice."
Ragos belied his previous claims that he personally delivered P5 million to Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s then-bodyguard, at her residence in Parañaque City in November and December 2012.
De Lima also said the DOJ should “review the glaring facts in these cases which earlier on already indicated a premeditated conspiracy among DOJ and other high government officials to fabricate drug cases against me.”
The DOJ should also look into the recent retraction of Espinosa, De Lima said. In his counter-affidavit, Espinosa said he was "coerced, pressured, intimidated, and seriously threatened by the police."
Espinosa was among the witnesses the government presented against De Lima during the Senate hearings in November and December 2016.
De Lima said she hopes that her “most urgent matter” would merit Guevarra’s attention.
“As Duterte’s term comes to an end, the DOJ can no longer afford to continue being blind to these facts that clearly indicate a pattern of witness coercion and bribery in order to fabricate drug cases against me and send me to jail,” she said.
De Lima has been detained since February 2017 over illegal drugs charges that she considers as political persecution.
The lawmaker is an outspoken critic of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte and his policies, including the bloody "war on drugs."
Malacanang insists that De Lima's cases have nothing to do with her views about the administration.
—with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News
FROM THE ARCHIVES