Marcelino vs De Lima looms after Marine’s release
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday said Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino might be asked to testify in the drug charges filed against Sen. Leila de Lima.
“He’s a possible witness. If possible we can use him to testify as [an] additional witness,” Aguirre said of Marcelino, who was cleared of drug charges by the Department of Justice on Thursday.
Aguirre found interesting Marcelino’s earlier disclosure that De Lima visited him while he was detained to talk about a raid on a “shabu” lab in Tarlac.
Marcelino also questioned why military intelligence was excluded from the raid that De Lima ordered at the New Bilibid Prisons where drug lords were found still plying their illicit trade.
Aguirre said he will leave Marcelino’s possible testimony up to Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta, Marcelino’s lawyer, who said Thursday the Marine officer was willing to testify.
But De Lima questioned Marcelino’s motives for wanting to testify against her. “Isn’t it obvious that his freedom is in exchange for mine?” the jailed senator said.
Speaking to reporters before her hearing on a supposed contempt of congressional summons, De Lima suggested Marcelino was only being used by the government against her.
“I suspect that a deal has been struck that he testify against me,” she said. “Too bad, I thought he was a man of honor, of integrity.”
“It must have been irresistible … or an overwhelming (sense of) fear,” she said.
The Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group said the dismissal of the drug charges against Marcelino would set a bad precedent for law enforcers.
In a statement, the PNP-DEG said the DOJ resolution was “unacceptable.”
“This group is wary that the said decision lays a dangerous precedent on the drug operations being conducted by law enforcement agencies,” it added.
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