Press Release
May 5, 2022

Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the recanted testimonies of Kerwin Espinosa, ex-BuCOR OIC Rafael Ragos vs Senator Leila de Lima

The admission of not one, but two witnesses, that their allegations against Senator Leila de Lima were fabricated only confirm what we knew all along: The criminal charges against Senator Leila are fake, baseless and motivated only by malice and political vendetta.

The statements of former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos and Kerwin Espinosa are deeply disturbing and warrant an urgent, unbiased, and transparent investigation on the alleged fabrication of evidence and coercion of witnesses against Senator Leila.

An inquiry must be made to check, if similar to Ragos and Espinosa, the testimonies of other witnesses against Senator Leila were merely "scripted" and were made under duress. Ragos, Espinosa and any new witnesses should be secured to prevent any and all attempts to silence them.

All law enforcement authorities and public officials who are behind these trumped-up charges must be identified, investigated upon, and held accountable under the law. The connection of former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to these acts should be scrutinized, given that he was previously caught red handed in the Senate cooking up baseless criminal charges against me as a member of the opposition.

High-ranking officials, both past and present, who have misused and abused their powers in this conspiracy against Senator Leila should not escape criminal and administrative liability. There should be no cover-ups and no sacred cows.

Lastly, the government is perhaps better off not wasting precious time and resources on a case in which vital witnesses are, one after another, admitting that their testimonies have been fabricated. Senator Leila de Lima must be freed immediately from her unjust detention. #FreeLeila!

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