Press Release
May 3, 2022

De Lima to DOJ: What's wrong about witnesses recanting their lies against me

Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima maintained that there is nothing questionable about witnesses finally speaking the truth and finding it in their conscience to retract their lies against her in relation to illegal drugs.

De Lima said the Department of Justice's (DOJ) decision to keep her detained despite the recent developments in her trumped-up drug cases puts into question the department's fidelity to justice even more than her ongoing cases already do.

"Anyone can see how I am in no position to force anything from the witnesses against me," she said.

"There are many things questionable about the cases against me. The recantation of witnesses is not one of them. If anything, this is the only thing that makes sense: it's proof that the truth will always come out.

"The DOJ is supposed to search for truth. Ngayon, the DOJ wants to bury the truth... dahil ba mga opisyales nila ang sangkot?," she asked.

In his affidavit, notarized on April 30, 2022 in Pasig, former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos retracted his previous statements, affidavits, and court testimonies that he delivered money to De Lima and her former aide Ronnie Dayan.

Ragos, a principal witness in one of two cases against De Lima pending at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court, said that he was threatened by then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II into making false allegations against De Lima.

In a statement, the DOJ questioned the delay on the part of Ragos in recanting his previous statements, saying it casts doubt on its truthfulness.

The lady Senator from Bicol maintained that DOJ's mandate is to serve the ends of justice, and not to use the law to persecute and oppress.

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

De Lima considered her unjust detention as the "greatest frame-up", "grandest conspiracy of lies" and the "grossest injustice" under the Duterte regime.

"Isipin nyo naman po: Hindi ako kandidato noong 2013. Pero tumanggap daw ako ng pera noong Nov. at Dec. 2012 para sa kandidatura na yun. Dyan palang, klarong kasinungalingan na yung ipinakargang kwento nila kay Ragos sa kanyang dating testimonya, na ayon sa kanyang affidavit of retraction, ay dikta ni dating SOJ Aquirre," said De Lima, a former justice secretary.

Ragos' recantation came just days after confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa also recanted his allegations against De Lima in relation to illegal drug trade in a counter-affidavit filed at the DOJ on April 28.

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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