Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima called former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II a “certified liar” for denying allegations that he coerced former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos to testify against her.
De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, maintained that Aguirre cannot be believed in his denial of Ragos’s accusations against him considering that he has a history of coercing witnesses, manufacturing evidence or lying about evidence.
“I say it again – Aguirre is a certified liar. He’s an embarrassment to the whole justice system,” said De Lima.
Ragos recently issued an affidavit notarized in Pasig City on April 30, 2022, retracting 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 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.
Aside from denying Ragos’s claim, Aguirre questioned Ragos’s motive for retracting his earlier statements against De Lima, pointing to the May 9 polls.
The lady Senator from Bicol said Aguirre’s statement that Ragos’s retraction is politically-motivated and timed for the elections is “pure speculation, a flimsy defense.”
“Ragos has always been under the wing of the DOJ, even retaining his position as NBI Deputy Director for the good part of the trial, at least until he finishes his cross-examination.
“I, on the other hand, remain in detention here in Camp Crame. What influence can I possibly have on Ragos to be able to extract his recantation, moreso time its execution in time for the elections?” she asked.
In calling to mind Aguirre’s history of lying and coercing, De Lima recalled how Aguirre orchestrated the trial by publicity conducted against her both in the House of Representatives and the Senate and how he coerced DOJ employees to admit falsely that they received money and held bank accounts for her benefit.
“In his effort to fabricate charges against me, he gave immunity under the Witness Protection Program to the Bilibid inmates he either coerced or bribed to testify against me during the House hearing in September 2016, even when criminal convicts are disqualified from becoming state witnesses.
“Not one of them was prosecuted in court by Aguirre and his DOJ, except for Jaybee Sebastian,” she said.
De Lima said she will file a supplement to the Complaint she filed against Aguirre with the Ombudsman in 2017 following the release of Ragos’s affidavit pointing to Aguirre as the mastermind behind his false testimony against her.
“This complaint includes a criminal complaint for offering false testimony, use of falsified documents, and grave coercion,” De Lima said.
“Ragos’s affidavit will serve as strong evidence, together with the other documents I already submitted to the Ombudsman, that Aguirre committed these criminal offenses against me when he ordered the preparation and filing of fabricated drug charges against me,” she added.
In a 27-page complaint submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman in 2017, De Lima accused Aguirre of fabricating the charges in the three drug cases filed against her, among other offenses.
It can be recalled that Ragos’s recantation came just days after confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa also recanted his allegations against De Lima in relation to illegal drug trade in a counter-affidavit filed at the DOJ on April 28.
De Lima 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. (30)