De Lima slams ‘rewards’ to witnesses, complainants vs her

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Senator Leila M. de Lima has decried as another reward the reported impending reinstatement of former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director Reynaldo Esmeralda after falsely testifying against her on trumped-up drug charges hurled against her by the government.

De Lima aired her disapproval in the wake of reports that aside from former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos who was earlier reported as having been reinstated as NBI Deputy Director upon Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s orders, Esmeralda will be returning also to his old post.

It may be recalled that Ragos was initially included as among the co-accused along with De Lima in one of the three drug cases filed against the latter. Later on, he was removed from the Information in exchange for his testimony implicating De Lima.

“Ragos was eventually excluded as a co-accused in one of the drug cases despite revelations of his illicit dealings with Bilibid drug lords. Most appalling is the recently reported reinstatement of Ragos to his former position as NBI Deputy Director, to the chagrin of NBI old-timers,” she recalled in her Dispatch from Crame No. 669.

“And guess what? Per a recent media report, Esmeralda, like Ragos, is set to be reinstated to his former post as NBI Deputy Director. Reward na naman! Kawawang NBI. Nagiging tapunan ng mga basura, rats of the institution,” she added.

According to news reports, both Esmeralda and Ragos have been regularly visiting the bureau in the past few days and were reportedly claiming that they will be reinstated to their previous positions in exchange for testifying against De Lima.

Last Dec. 6, Esmeralda also took the witness stand in Case No. 165-166 before  the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 to purportedly “corroborate” the claim of alleged delivery of drug money to De Lima’s residence on two occasions in 2012, something De Lima has vehemently denied. Such alleged deliveries “never happened”, said De Lima in a previous statement.

Aside from Esmeralda and Ragos, De Lima also recalled the other witnesses, political operators, complainants and lawyers who she believed struck a deal with the Duterte government to ensure her conviction for their own benefits.

“Convicted felons were granted immunity. Some of them transferred to military camps, presumably with more comfortable quarters than hell-hole Bilibid. God knows what other concessions were promised them in exchange for perjured testimonies. Pardon perhaps or other forms of executive clemency for their early release, and non-freezing or non-sequestration of their assets?” she asked.

“Duterte operators and complainants and their lawyer in the cases filed against me in the DOJ were appointed to government posts. Sandra Cam. Dante Jimenez. Atty. Eduardo Bringas…” she added.

Duterte appointed Cam as a member of the board of directors of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office while he assigned Jimenez to lead the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission. Bringas, meanwhile, was appointed as executive director of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

The lady Senator from Bicol said she hopes that the NBI would realize by now how the Duterte administration used the agency in its malevolent scheme against her when it acted as the public complainant in the case before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“[NBI] blindly [accepted] the bogus stories of the convicts and other perjured witnesses, without the benefit of a legitimate independent probe. What a sad and disgusting state of affairs!,” she said.

Ganyan kadesperado ang mga persecutors ko. All they care about is making sure that I “rot in jail,” as forcefully and repeatedly proclaimed by their master. They don’t care about the havoc this whole charade called the De Lima trial has brought to our justice institutions. A blatant abuse of power!” she added.

De Lima, who branded as the “grandest hoax” the illegal drug trading charges leveled against her by the Duterte administration, has continued to assert her innocence as she maintained that “truth will ultimately catch up” on her persecutors. (30)

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