Press Release
May 2, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1256:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Rafael Ragos' retraction


I did not expect, at least at this stage, former NBI Deputy Director and BuCor OIC Rafael Ragos to retract his statements and testimonies implicating me in the Bilibid drug trade. After all, he played along with my persecutors in the Duterte Administration for so long I no longer hoped that he still had any remaining ounce of integrity in himself. In fact, it was his testimony in court that was used by the judge to deny my demurrer or motion to dismiss in one of the fabricated drug cases filed against me by the DOJ. His fabricated testimony, which he is now retracting, is the main, if not the sole, reason why that case was not dismissed and why I am still detained as the trial continues.

Nevertheless, now that Ragos has mustered enough courage and conscience to own up to bearing false witness against an innocent person, I am glad that he did. It appears now that his participation in that conspiracy of lies was an involuntary one. I am grateful to him for identifying the personalities behind the conspiracy to destroy my reputation and put me in jail.

I always knew that former DOJ Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II was the leading instigator of the fabricated cases against me, after Duterte. So his name appearing in Ragos's affidavit of retraction did not come as a surprise. The mention of former NBI Deputy Director Reynaldo Esmeralda also came as no surprise. He has an axe to grind against me. The others, like former NBI Director Dante Gierran, DOJ Usec Raymund Mecate, Danny Yang, Roland Argabioso, and PAO lawyers Rigel Salvador and Demi Huerta, are new to me.

I have also always suspected that the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors, or some of them, would have known that Ragos was lying on the witness stand. Ragos's retraction only confirms that they did and that, all along, they were guilty of suborning false testimony.

With Kerwin Espinosa's and Ragos's retractions, I hope that it is now clear to the Filipino people that the false charges for illegal drug trading filed against me by the DOJ were the product of a long-standing conspiracy that started all the way back in September 2016 in the House of Representatives and the Senate, involving high government officials from the legislative and executive branches. At least, for the part of Ragos, the names of those conspirators are now known.

It is only a matter of time before the rest are identified by other false witnesses, mostly convicted inmates of the Bilibid, who were either bribed or coerced to make up stories about my supposed involvement in the Bilibid drug trade. This is only expected as the mastermind of this despicable enterprise exits Malacanang at the end of his calamitous term.

It appears, after all, that justice will still be served, no matter how late. Five years too late. But indeed, Truth often bides its time. It patiently waits and is never vanquished.###

((Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 1256, here:

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