Press Release
May 31, 2022

Another gov't witness fails to link De Lima in drug trade, denies transacting with her - Lawyer

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima's camp shared that the recent Prosecution witness failed anew to link the Senator to the alleged illegal drug trading inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) after admitting that he did not have any transaction with the Senator.

Atty. Filibon "Boni" Tacardon, one of De Lima's legal counsels, shared that during the hearing, the testimony of Prosecution witness, convicted murderer Joel Capones, highlighted two major points which support De Lima's innocence.

"Una is inamin niya sa kanyang cross examination na wala syang transaksyon at hindi nya kakilala si Senator De Lima at kung meron man siyang naging transaksyon, engaged sa illegal drug trade, ito ay kay Jaybee Sebastian lang.

"Pero dahil wala na, namatay na si Jaybee Sebastian, hindi na mapapasubalian ni Jaybee Sebastian ang sinasabi nyang transaksyon nya tungkol sa ilegal na droga," he said.

"Pangalawang punto na tingin namin na maganda ay nung tinanong sya--nung unang tinanong sya sa direct examination, ang sabi nya nakita nya na may inabot na pera daw si Jaybee Sebastian. Pero nung tinanong ulit namin yun nung cross examination, exact words na sinabi nya ay 'anong pera'?" he added.

During the hearing, Capones denied personally knowing De Lima and her former aide Ronnie Dayan, and having personal transactions with them.

The hearing before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court, Branch 256 last May 30 was the continuation of the cross-examination of Capones, who alleged that De Lima received drug money from Sebastian - a claim the Senator has firmly denied.

With another witness failing to link De Lima to illegal drug trade, Tacardon believed that the Prosecution still has not yet presented strong and sufficient evidence to justify the Senator's continued unjust detention.

"Well, so far, we believe na wala pang matibay na ebidensya na naipapalabas ang Prosecution na magju-justify ng continued detention ni Senator De Lima habang dinidinig yung kaso na ito," he said.

In his previous testimony, Capones confessed, in open court, his participation in the commission of the crime of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading, together with his 13 mayores in Sigue Sigue Sputnik Gang.

De Lima's camp previously filed a complaint against Capones and his gangmates for illegal drug trading before the Muntinlupa prosecutor's office, which dismissed it.

In seeking reconsideration of the dismissal of complaint against Capones, De Lima's lawyers stressed that "To be clear, we are not questioning the legal principle that a mere confession, and indeed the mere testimony of an alleged co-conspirator, which is not corroborated by the corpus delicti, is insufficient to put a person on trial, much less for conviction.

"That has been our unwavering position since 2016. But this complaint against Capones is at the preliminary investigation stage, and yet the DOJ cannot even be moved to lift a finger and issue a subpoena to get him to answer for his own self-confessed crimes? By the same token, the cases against the Senator should never have progressed beyond the DOJ preliminary investigation back in November 2016. Instead, they did their best to waste five years of a human being's life, and an elected Senator's mandate out of fear of the truth she speaks."

Prior to Capones testimony, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, former Bureau of Corrections Officer-in-Charge Rafael Ragos and De Lima's former aide Ronnie Dayan recanted their allegations against De Lima, claiming that they have been coerced and threatened by state agents and key government officials of the Duterte Administration.

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