Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima slammed Prosecution’s convict-witness Herbert “Ampang” Colanggo’s desperate attempt to paint himself as the real “star witness” in the trumped-up drug cases against her by spewing more lies about her in a recent media interview.
De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, belied Colanggo’s recent allegations that he was being pressured by her camp to recant his testimonies against her following the retraction of other witnesses on her case.
“This is the problem when the government allows a charlatan convicted criminal like Colanggo an interview with the media. There is no limit to the fairy tales he will invent and the lies he will tell,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“That he is being pressured to stop from testifying by my camp is one of those easily conceived lies that can be blurted out by Colanggo without any hesitation, all of it being a part of his stellar performance to grab the limelight from his fellow convicts as the real ‘star witness’ in the trumped-up cases against me,” she added.
In a recent interview, Colanggo reportedly insisted he would continue to testify against De Lima on the alleged drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) stating that a group was secretly approaching witnesses like him to weaken the case against her – a claim that the Senator and her camp outrightly and firmly denied.
De Lima said unlike other coerced witnesses, Colanggo is enjoying his role in spreading lies about her, while showing his handlers “that his performance is worth every bribe and privilege that they promised him.”
“I have no ill feelings towards the convicted criminals who were coerced or bribed to falsely testify against me. But when this is done with relish and gusto, like how Colanggo seems to enjoy the spotlight, whether when speaking to the media or on the witness stand, then that is another matter altogether,” she said.
The lady Senator from Bicol noted how Colanggo was described as a convicted drug dealer when in fact, he was convicted of robbery with homicide.
“Kailan pa naging convicted drug dealer si Herbert Colanggo? E sya ang leader ng mamamatay-taong robbery gang na sangkot sa RCBC massacre,” she said.
“Si Herbert Colanggo ay katangi-tanging witness na, nung nag-confess sya as a drug lord, parang mas gumanda pa ang imahe nya. Sya ay nakulong sa salang robbery with homicide. Nagnakaw na, nang-massacre pa ng mga walang kalaban-labang empleyado ng bangko,” she added.
It can be recalled that the Ampang-Colanggo robbery group was tagged as the one behind the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) branch in Cabuyao, Laguna in 2008 which left 10 individuals dead. Police described this massacre as one of the bloodiest bank robberies in Philippine history.
According to media reports, nine of the victims were found sprawled on the floor with a single gunshot wound to their heads. The 10th victim succumbed to gunshot wounds in the head while being treated in the hospital. Reportedly, all bodies showed no bruises or other signs that they resisted.
The said brutal incident was described by then CALABARZON Regional Police Director Chief Superintendent Ricardo Padilla as “handiwork of the devil.”
“They were killed in a gangland-style execution – each of the victims shot in the head while lined up,” Padilla said.
Colanggo was reportedly arrested in January 2009 in a checkpoint at Barangay Tominobo, Iligan City. The Parañaque Regional Trial Court sentenced him to life imprisonment in October 2014.
Prior to Colanggo’s media interview, former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and De Lima’s former aide and co-accused Ronnie Dayan recanted all of their allegations against her in relation to illegal drug trade. (30)