Press Release
June 6, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1,266:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the DOJ's review of her cases


I am thankful that, as reported by the media, the DOJ is now reviewing my cases.

It is the DOJ's sacred mandate to ensure that no injustice is done to anyone. Just as the DOJ must ensure the prosecution and conviction of those guilty of real crimes, it must also ensure that an innocent is spared from a baseless or farcical prosecution.

DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra should not be doing a Pontius Pilate by just pointing to his predecessor as the initiator of the cases against me. He is morally and legally bound to look into the recent recantations of so-called "star witnesses" in the House and Senate hearings namely, Rafael Ragos, Ronnie Dayan, and Kerwin Espinosa, and how they were coerced and threatened by former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and other personalities into fabricating stories and testifying against me.

These are very serious allegations which indicate a premeditated conspiracy of government officials and political allies of Duterte to manufacture testimony and evidence against me. The Secretary of Justice (SOJ) as the premiere advocate of justice and the DOJ as the premiere justice institution must always care about uncovering the truth in light of these retractions and claims of government coercion.

In assessing or re-assessing the rest of the evidence against me, the SOJ/DOJ must go beyond a superficial review of the cold statements or affidavits of the witnesses and inquire into the very circumstances by which these were extracted. More than the now recanting witnesses, the Bilibid witnesses are most vulnerable to various insidious machinations - threats, coercion, bribery, concessions, promise of immunity even when unqualified as state witnesses, etc. Dig deeper please, I so implore.

Neither the law nor the rules restrain the SOJ and the DOJ from acting under these premises and correct a grievous wrong, even when the cases are already with the courts. Again, their foremost task is to seek out the truth, uphold the same, and do justice.

Finally, to set the facts right. The recantations are already part of the records of the courts hearing my two remaining cases. Ragos' affidavit of recantation is now with the RTC of Muntinlupa as an attachment to our Omnibus Motion for Outright Dismissal or Bail. On the other hand, Dayan's judicial affidavit recanting his testimony before the House Justice Committee hearing on the Bilibid drug trade has also been submitted to the same court and is in fact already the subject of cross-examination. Espinosa's own counter-affidavit containing his recantation has been submitted to the DOJ in the course of the preliminary investigation of one of his remaining cases.

In short, it's not true that I am pursuing my defense based on these recantations only through the media. Despite this travesty of justice, I remain respectful of the courts and the rule of law by participating in the judicial proceedings. But, as always, I make it a point to apprise the public through media of the case developments, in the interest of truth and transparency. ###

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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