De Lima: ‘2 testified against me to save their own skin’
MANILA, Philippines — “Both have denied under oath their complicity in the illegal drug trade. Yet, both accuse each other of such complicity!”
Sen. Leila de Lima said this Monday after two witnesses who testified against her — former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos and National Bureau of Investigation intelligence agent Jovencio Ablen — are now accusing each other of being involved in illegal drug activities.
“Rafael Ragos accuses Jovencio Ablen, Jr. of involvement in the illegal drug trade, along with inmate Froilan Trestiza and former NBI agent John Herra who was later murdered. On the other hand, Ablen points to Ragos as a recipient of ‘tara’ from drug convicts,” De Lima said in a statement.
“Ragos and Ablen had a falling out when, according to Ablen, he was suspected by Ragos of pocketing P1 Million ‘Christmas gift’ from an NBP caterer supposedly meant for Ragos (who knows how much more cash gifts came from said caterer on other instances!),” she added.
Both Ragos and Ablen earlier testified against De Lima claiming that they delivered drug money to De Lima’s residence on two occasions in 2012.
De Lima, however, said the two witnesses testified against her “to save their own skin.”
“Now you know why these two agreed to testify against me, brazenly lying about the alleged deliveries to my residence on 2 occasions in 2012 of P5 million each. Sila kasi dapat ang kakasuhan dahil sa mga kalokohan nila. Tinakot sila ng mga operators na trumabaho sa pagpeke ng mga kaso laban sa akin,” De Lima said.
“They had to save their own skin. In exchange for non-indictment (Ablen) and exclusion as an accused (Ragos), and their retention as an NBI official (Ragos) and NBI agent (Ablen), these 2 had to do the bidding of the Duterte operators led by former Secretary Of Justice Aguirre and Public Attorney’s Office Chief Acosta to implicate me in the illegal drug trade,” she added.
De Lima also questioned why the two were placed under the Witness Protection Program of the Department Of Justice’s (DOJ).
“While retaining their NBI posts, these 2 are now under the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program (WPP). Ragos, as Director III of NBI and a WPP-covered state witness, is now even ‘detailed’ to the PAO. As to what is the basis of such secondment, we do not know,” De Lima said.
“Imagine, these scalawags are receiving government protection using government resources and continue receiving their salary and other benefits! And, pray tell, protection from what? Where is the threat to their security, if at all, coming from? From each other, perhaps?” she added.
The senator said the two witnesses had to “stick to their fabricated story” to stay alive.
“The irony is that the very handlers of Ragos and Ablen, or the ones ostensibly giving them protection, are the very same forces who can do real harm to them. These 2 bastards need to stick to their fabricated story about my alleged receipt of drug money in order for them to stay alive. For self-preservation. Survival. A most basic human instinct,” De Lima said.
De Lima is currently detained at Camp Crame on drug-related charges.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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