Espinosa retraction won't affect cases vs De Lima, says Palace | Inquirer News

Espinosa retraction won’t affect cases vs De Lima, says Palace

/ 12:59 PM April 29, 2022

Espinosa retraction won't affect cases vs De Lima, says Palace

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Kerwin Espinosa’s retraction of allegations linking Senator Leila de Lima to the illegal drug trade “will not have any effect” on the pending cases against the detained legislator, the Palace said Friday.

Acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said that Espinosa “is not a state witness.”


“While Kerwin Espinosa appears to have recanted his allegations against Senator Leila de Lima, his recantation will not have any effect on the pending criminal cases against the lady senator,” the Palace official said in a statement.


“We have to underscore what the Prosecutor General said – Mr. Espinosa is not a state witness,” he added.

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento on Thursday night said Espinosa’s recantation has no effect on the government’s case against de Lima, noting that the self-confessed drug trader was not a witness of the prosecution.

But it should be recalled that Espinosa was admitted into the Witness Protection Progam (WPP) under the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2017 as a witness against de Lima.

WPP, which was established via Republic Act No. 6981, aims “to encourage a person who has witnessed or has knowledge of the commission of a crime to testify before a court or quasi-judicial body, or before an investigating authority, by protecting him from reprisals and from economic dislocation.”

Espinosa was removed from the WPP in February this year.

In his counter-affidavit submitted before the DOJ on Thursday, Espinosa said that his previous statements against de Lima were “false and was the result of pressure, coercion, intimidation, and serious threats to his life and family members from the police who instructed him to implicate the Senator into the illegal drug trade.”


READ: Key witness vs De Lima recants, bares coercion

Espinosa likewise apologized to the senator, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte who has been in detention since February 2017 over what she has repeatedly branded as “trumped-up” drug charges.

READ: Kerwin Espinosa recants drug trade accusations vs Sen. Leila de Lima

Following this development, de Lima’s legal counsel expressed hopes that others who were “intimidated, coerced, and bribed into making false accusations” against the legislator would also “come out and confess.”

“We have always believed that no matter the lies perpetrated by coerced witnesses, in the end, the truth will still come out,” Atty. Filibon Tacardon said in a statement.

“Espinosa’s affidavit only proves the length the current administration [has] gone to fabricate testimonies and evidence against Senator De Lima,” he added.

“We hope that other witnesses will also come out and confess how they were intimidated, coerced, and bribed into making false testimonies against the good Senator and if possible, name those who actively participated in coercing them to come up with such ridiculous narratives against the good Senator,” Tacardon further said.

READ: De Lima’s counsel hopes other ‘coerced witnesses’ will ‘come out and confess’

The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 earlier granted de Lima’s demurrer to evidence in Case Number 17-166, marking her acquittal in one of three drug cases filed against her, which she called a “moral victory.”


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De Lima’s ex-driver belies transporting drug money: Remarks to Pacquiao made ‘under duress’

De Lima to face accuser Kerwin Espinosa in Senate probe

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De Lima says Espinosa testimony a very nice script


TAGS: Leila de Lima, Palace, WPP

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