Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima maintained that the dismissal of the illegal drug case filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Kerwin Espinosa only highlighted her innocence from all the trumped-up drug charges filed against her.
De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, made the statement after the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 64 denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the Prosecution on the drug case against Espinosa.
“Again, the court in Espinosa’s case only reiterated that the testimony of Espinosa before the Senate cannot be relied upon as evidence even against Espinosa himself. In the first place, Espinosa has already recanted his Senate testimony.
“So insofar as I am concerned, with the court’s ruling and Espinosa’s recantation, Espinosa’s Senate testimony has already been conclusively proven to be unreliable as evidence against me,” she said.
“From the very start, even the DOJ desisted from including the Espinosa case in the charges they filed against me. As early as 2017, the DOJ already realized that the Espinosa fairy tale narrated at the Senate would not make the cut even in a Duterte-controlled court setting,” she added.
It may be recalled that Espinosa falsely testified in Senate hearings that De Lima was involved in illegal drug trade as then Justice Secretary, but he already recanted his previous allegations and said he had no dealings with De Lima in a counter-affidavit filed at the DOJ on April 28 this year.
Recall that in the government’s case against Espinosa, the Prosecution relied on the testimony of Marcelo Adorco who previously presented himself as Espinosa’s bodyguard and driver implicating the latter and several personalities in the illegal drug trade.
Adorco then recanted all his allegations claiming that he just made his previous affidavits against Espinosa due to fear for his life. Subsequently, the camp of Espinosa and other accused filed their demurrers to evidence which the Court granted and accordingly, dismissed the case for insufficiency of evidence.
Notably, in Adorco’s counter-affidavit filed at the DOJ on August 28, 2020, he also denied personally knowing De Lima and that he had no personal knowledge about the alleged meeting of De Lima and Espinosa in Baguio City.
De Lima maintained that Espinosa’s Senate testimony was a purely fabricated story forced upon both Espinosa and Ronnie Dayan, her former aide and co-accused in one of the two (2) remaining drug cases against her, upon the orchestration of Duterte’s henchmen and operators.
“The fact that all of this is coming out as Duterte’s term ends indicates that the Duterte Admin’s cases against me are purely manufactured and fabricated in order to persecute, destroy, and silence me,” she said.
Aside from Espinosa, Dayan and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Officer-in-Charge Rafael Ragos also recanted their allegations against De Lima, claiming that they have been coerced and threatened by state agents and key government officials of the Duterte Administration.
Prosecution witness, convicted murderer Joel Capones, on cross examination, also denied personally knowing and transacting with De Lima and Dayan during the last hearing in one of the bogus drug cases filed against De Lima before the Muntinlupa RTC, Branch 256.
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 last Feb. 17, 2021. (30)