De Lima claims Marine colonel under 'pressure' to link her to drugs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2016 01:55 PM

MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima said Thursday the government was reviving a drug case against a Marine officer to force him into implicating her in the narcotics trade.

De Lima said Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinand Marcelino had sent two text messages to a common friend saying he was being pressured to turn against her.

The Department of Justice on Wednesday reversed an earlier resolution and said there was enough grounds to pursue drug possession charges against Marcelino over a raid in Manila last January.

“Look at the circumstances. I have no reason to doubt what was forwarded to me from Colonel Marcelino na iniipit siya para ituro whatever it is na itututro nila sa akin [to corroborate whatever it is that they’re throwing against me],” De Lima told reporters.

De Lima read both text messages to reporters. In the first message sent on July 19, Marcelino said “fabricated stories” were being prepared against him to convince him to “speak against” the senator.

"Hindi pa ako masyadong makagalaw at labas ngayon dahil ang daming gusting kumatay sa akin, bok. Di ko pa rin mapuntahan si Senator LD (Leila De Lima) kasi ginagawan kami ng mga fabricated stories," he said in the message.

[I cannot move much nowadays because a lot of people are targetting me. I also cannot go to Senator LD (Leila De Lima) because fabricated stories will be made about us.]

"There are also some groups that are trying to convince me to speak against her, but rest assured na hindi ako pagagamit sa kanila, Mistah. Not only because I really appreciate it and forever indebted sa inyo ni ma’am, but because people deserve no less than the truth and justice," it followed.

"Mistah" is a term used by alumni of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to refer to classmates.

In the second message sent on Sept. 5, Marcelino said, according to De Lima: “Pressures against me are mounting. They would even reopen my case, but rest assured that I will never give in to them.”

Marcelino also told the common friend to tell De Lima to “keep (the) faith and be strong.”

Detained crime lords presented by the DoJ to Congress this week accused De Lima of receiving kickbacks from the illegal drug trade, which was being run from inside the national penitentiary.

The witnesses said drug money was used to fund De Lima's senatorial campaign last May.

The hearings came after De Lima investigated the hundreds of deaths linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. She was removed this week as head of the committee handling that investigation.