Press Release
April 29, 2022

The Truth, now coming out, shall set me free, as I cry out for justice - De Lima

Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima welcomed the counter-affidavit of self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa recanting all of his allegations against her in relation to illegal drug trade.

De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said Espinosa's counter-affidavit "only proves the lengths Duterte and his minions, inside and outside of the DOJ, have gone to fabricate testimony and evidence against me."

"As I have always been saying, all allegations against me invented by the Duterte machine of lies and fabrications would ultimately unravel," she added.

It may be recalled that Espinosa falsely testified in Senate hearings that De Lima was part of the illegal drug trade as then Justice Secretary during the Aquino administration - an accusation she has vehemently denied.

In a counter-affidavit filed at the DOJ on April 28, Espinosa said he had no dealings with De Lima and emphasized that his previous sworn affidavits against the Senator were not true.

"Any and all of his statements given during the Senate hearings, or in the form of sworn written affidavits, against Senator Leila De Lima are not true. He has no dealings with Sen. De Lima and has not given her any money at any given time," Espinosa's counter-affidavit read.

Espinosa further said that the statement he made against the Senator "was the result only of pressure, coercion, intimidation, and serious threats to his life and family members from the police who instructed him to implicate the Senator into the illegal drug trade."

Through the counter-affidavit, Espinosa also apologized to De Lima.

The lady Senator from Bicol said she has always believed that no matter how much Duterte lies and uses false witnesses against her, the truth will still come out to set her free in the end.

"I have been languishing in jail for the past 5 years on the basis of testimonies of convicted criminals who, like Kerwin Espinosa, were used by the DOJ to manufacture lies about me and about crimes that I did not commit.

"As Duterte steps down from power, more of these convict-witnesses are only expected to come out and confess that they were intimidated, coerced, or bribed into making up the ridiculous and impossible story that I received money from the illegal drug trade," she said.

"I also expect them to reveal the names of Duterte's officials who participated in this gross frame-up, so I can also finally bring these people to account for what they have done to me," she added.

In a separate statement published on Twitter, De Lima said Duterte's lies is finally coming to an end as he nears the end of his presidency.

"Duterte and his minions used the whole might and abused the power of the government just to destroy and send me to prison. As their power comes to an end, so will their lies, and the truth shall finally set me free," she said.

Partly responding to Espinosa's expression of apology, De Lima, in a separate Tweet said: "Matagal ko nang pinatawad, at ipinasa-Diyos, yung mga ginamit o nagpagamit sa mga kasinungalingan laban sa akin--yung mga tinakot, binayaran, blinackmail o pinangakuan ng pera o kung anumang pribilehiyo."

"Hinihikayat ko ang mga naging bahagi ng pang-aaping nagaganap sa akin na sumunod at magsiwalat ng kanilang nalalaman. Lumalabas na ang katotohanan. Malapit na ang hustisya.

"Ang hangad ko: Pagpapanagot sa mga nasa likod nito. Ang pinakasigaw ko: HUSTISYA!" she added.

This month, De Lima's former aide and co-accused in one of two remaining cases, Ronnie Dayan, for his part, belied receiving and delivering of supposed drug money to then Justice Secretary De Lima in a manifestation filed before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branches 204 and 256.

De Lima has consistently and firmly asserted her innocence in the cases filed against her. Due to lack of evidence, one of the three trumped-up drug charges against her has already been dismissed, which she called a "moral victory." The two other cases are still pending.

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