Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has lambasted former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officer Reynaldo Esmeralda for his lies under oath, when he testified in one of the three drug cases filed against the Senator.
De Lima, a prisoner of conscience, said Esmeralda has an axe to grind against her. He blames her for his removal and replacement as NBI Deputy Director by then President Benigno S. Aquino III.
“Here comes another former NBI Deputy Director, Reynaldo Esmeralda. Another shameless liar who, like Ragos, Ablen and convicts, lied under oath,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 669.
“This guy, like most of the inmates-witnesses, has an axe to grind against me. 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 added.
Last Dec. 6, Esmeralda testified against De Lima before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205 in Case No. 165-166, which originated from the complaint filed by Esmeralda and fellow NBI officer Ruel Lasala against her and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos, and the Senator’s former aide and driver Ronnie Dayan.
The illegal drug trade complaint covers acts purportedly committed from November 2012 to March 2013 when the Senator was still justice secretary. It was alleged that she used her authority to abet and promote the proliferation of massive drug trade inside the NBP.
In November 2017, however, the government’s prosecution filed an amended Information that drastically changed the crime imputed against the Senator from “illegal drug trading” to “conspiracy to trade illegal drugs”, and removed Ragos as one of the co-accused in the said case.
De Lima recalled that Esmeralda, in his testimony, ostensibly “corroborated” the “ludicrous” claim of alleged delivery of money by Ragos and NBI intelligence against Ablen to her residence on two occasions in 2012, saying that Ablen called him up immediately after such deliveries and reported the alleged incident.
“Clearly hearsay and an absolute lie! Ablen never mentioned in his own testimony months ago that he made such a call to Esmeralda. He never mentioned Esmeralda at all. [I]n the Complaint-Affidavit filed with the DOJ, with Esmeralda as one of the complainants, nowhere is such allegation about Ablen confiding in Esmeralda found,” she said.
“Esmeralda, for his part, never reported it or raised such disturbing matter to anyone in any forum. He kept mum about it until now, or seven (7) years later. Malinaw na isa na naman itong pahabol na imbentong kuwento,” she added.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, also decried Esmeralda’s reported impending reinstatement to his old NBI post as deputy director, calling it as another “reward” for falsely testifying against her.
News reports claimed that Ragos has been reinstated as deputy director upon Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s order which De Lima’s camp considers as a reward for his testimony against De Lima. Ragos earlier testified against De Lima also. (30)