Press Release
May 8, 2022

De Lima to Duterte and Aguirre: Sino'ng niloloko n'yo?

Senator Leila M. de Lima maintained that Filipinos have had enough of Duterte's deception and are now wise enough not to believe the lies he spewed on the recantation of witness' allegations against her in relation to the illegal drug trade.

De Lima maintained that Duterte's claims that former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos was offered money and that self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa was promised pardon to recant their previous testimonies against her is just another set of lies.

"Everyone is wise to Duterte and Aguirre's lies now. Sinong niloloko nila? Only the gullible will believe that I am in any position to bribe or coerce any witness to change their testimonies just like that. I'm neither rich nor powerful. The only thing going for me is the fact that the truth is on my side," she said.

"On the contrary, it is Duterte and his servant Aguirre who have the money and power to threaten anyone just to perpetuate the lies that led to my detention. And they did just that in order to get the courts to have me arrested for false charges.

Palibhasa nabuking ang kanilang kasinungalingan kaya pinipilit nilang takpan ng mas marami pang kasinungalingan," 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.

Ragos said that he was threatened by then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre into making false allegations against De Lima, explaining that he followed Aguirre's order due to threats of being detained on a crime he claimed he did not commit.

In reacting to the issue, Duterte made another false accusation, claiming that Ragos was pressured to recant his testimony.

De Lima said Duterte cannot fathom the fact that the compulsion to tell the truth is working in her favor without any improper motivation or prodding from her so he entertains and propagate baseless suspicions to discredit the recantations.

"Now that Duterte's crimes against me and the Filipino people are revealed as his term comes to an end, he is vulnerable," she said.

"To quote Shakespeare, 'Suspicion haunts the guilty mind'. Duterte will suffer his guilt to the end of his days," she added.

In a separate statement posted on Twitter, De Lima stressed that Duterte and his henchmen excel in propagating lies and intrigues.

"Paying them off and promising them things like pardon are exactly what Duterte and his cohorts did to some of those perjured witnesses. Others were threatened or coerced. Huwag nyong ibinabato sa amin ang mga gawain nyo," she said.

"Sa akin at kay Duterte, sino ang nasa puwesto para suhulan o takutin ang mga testigo sa pekeng kaso laban sa akin? Ilang linggo na lang, mananagot na si Duterte sa kaniyang kasinungalingan. Mga kriminal na lang ang natitirang testigo laban sa akin, kasama si Duterte," she added.

Ultimately, De Lima reminded Duterte that one cannot pardon an innocent person not convicted of any crime following the latter's further claim that she may be pardoned if Vice President Leni Robredo's bid for the presidency will be successful.

"You don't pardon an innocent accused (me) and one not convicted yet. Pardon is only for convicted felons like the witnesses he coerced to falsely testify against me. Akala ko ba abogado si Duterte?" she asked.

De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, 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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