Press Release
May 6, 2022

De Lima to Esmeralda: w/o Ragos's false testimony, DOJ's fabricated case falls like a house of cards

Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima highlighted former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officer Reynaldo Esmeralda's failure to recognize that the previous coerced testimony of former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos is the main reason why her trumped-up drug case was not dismissed.

De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said she finds the recent media interview of Esmeralda in relation to Ragos's court testimony on her case as amusing.

"I saw the transcript of a media interview with former NBI Deputy Director Reynaldo Esmeralda aired last May 3. More than anything, I was amused reading it. Esmeralda claims that the House and court testimony of former BuCor OIC Rafael Ragos is shot full of holes ("maraming butas") and highly improbable," she said.

"But of course! This is what I have been saying from the very start. Ragos's previous testimony is so fantastic as to be credible. This is precisely what Ragos told the DOJ panel of prosecutors as stated in his recent affidavit of retraction. Ragos told them that they should not expect him to deliver a plausible testimony in court because 'they are all lies,'" she added.

In his affidavit, notarized on April 30, 2022 in Pasig, Ragos retracted his previous statements, affidavits, and court testimonies that he delivered money to De Lima and her former aide Ronnie Dayan.

Questioning Ragos's recantation, Esmeralda said "I won't believe anything that Ragos will say in so far as this case," claiming that the former "is lying to his teeth."

De Lima claimed that Esmeralda has an axe to grind against her. "He blames me for his and Lasala's removal and replacement as then NBI Deputy Directors by then President Aquino due to integrity issues," she said.

The lady Senator from Bicol maintained that Ragos's previous false testimony should not have been presented at all in court by the DOJ panel of prosecutors.

"It is highly incredible and had all the signs of a bargained-for testimony. This has been our consistent and persistent assertion when we moved for a demurrer or dismissal of the case which, unfortunately, was denied by the court," she said.

De Lima questioned if Esmeralda realizes that Ragos's false and coerced testimony is the only link to the fictional drug money that the court used in denying her demurrer to dismiss one of the fabricated drug cases filed against her by the DOJ.

"Without it, DOJ's fabricated case falls like a house of cards, even if Jovencio Ablen's equally perjured testimony corroborating Ragos is not retracted. In short, there is really no case against me," De Lima said. "A bogus case is no case," she added.

Prior to Ragos's retraction, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa also recanted all of his allegations against De Lima in relation to illegal drug trade in a counter-affidavit filed at the DOJ on April 28.

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