Velasco rebuts De Lima, says he never pushed for acquittal of a ‘drug lord’
Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. refuted on Friday Senator Leila De Lima’s claims that he lobbied for the acquittal of a so-called drug lord at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in 2009.
Responding to a story ran by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Friday titled “Leila links SC Justice Velasco to drug lord,” Velasco vehemently denied de Lima’s allegations that he “pushed for the acquittal” of convicted drug lord German Agojo.
“The High Court affirmed the conviction of drug lord German Agojo when the Supreme Court division deliberated on the case in 2009,” Velasco said in a statement.
“The High Court affirmed the conviction of Mr. Agojo,” he added.
The magistrate said that he neither even dissented on the decision, which was penned by now-retired Justice Dante O. Tinga, nor verbally moved for Agojo’s acquittal.
Velasco pointed out that Tinga had clarified that the deliberation on the Agojo case was very “uneventful.”
The justice also said that neither did he know nor met Agojo and, thus, had no relationship with the drug lord.
Velasco said De Lima’s allegations were based on a report by journalist Maritess Vitug, whom he charged with libel before the Manila Regional Trial Court for the same reason. He said he dropped the case later on “out of compassion.”
Velasco said De Lima’s accusation was an attempt to make him inhibit from her illegal drugs case pending before the SC.
“The attempt by Sen. De Lima to inhibit Justice Velasco could simply be an attempt on her part to an advantage in connection with her pending case before the Supreme Court involving illegal drug trade and/or conspiracy to commit illegal trade,” the statement read. /kga
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