Aguirre: Retractions of allegations vs De Lima a conspiracy | Inquirer News

Aguirre: Retractions of allegations vs De Lima a conspiracy

/ 09:08 AM May 05, 2022


Vitaliano Aguirre II

Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II  (File photo by MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday claimed that the recent retractions of accusations against detained Senator Leila de Lima are part of an alleged conspiracy.

Interviewed on ANC, Aguirre again denied having coerced former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Rafael Ragos to testify against De Lima, who has been detained since 2017 for alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade in the New Bilibid Prison.


De Lima has repeatedly denied such allegations.


“Iba ang purpose niyan, ang purpose niyan is propaganda for the people behind his retraction [It has a different purpose, it’s purpose is for propaganda for the people behind his retraction],” Aguirre said.

“Merong malaking conspiracy para yang mga dating witnesses against De Lima ay mapabaliktad. Inumpisa yan kay Kerwin [Espinosa], and then kay Ragos,” he added, claiming he was allegedly informed that several other witnesses are also being “targeted” to recant their statement.

(It’s a big conspiracy so that the witnesses against De Lima will retract. It started off with Kerwin and then with Ragos.)

Aguirre, citing his years in practice as a lawyer, said most witnesses recant their testimonies for money.

“Ang common denominator ng lahat ng nagre-retract—siguro 99 percent ng lahat ng nagre-retract—ay pera [The common denominator of those who retract—about 99 percent of them—is money],” he said.

Aguirre, however, admitted that he has no proof that Ragos received money to take back his testimonies that linked De Lima to the Bilibid drug trade.


“Wala pa ‘ko sa ngayon, kasi bigla na lang susulpot ‘yan after five years, you expect me to have evidence na siya ay binigyan ng pera? [I have none so far, because it came out of the blue after five years, you expect me to have evidence that he received money?]” the former secretary said.

Earlier Ragos, a former officer-in-charge of the BuCor, issued an affidavit notarized in Pasig City on April 30, 2022, saying he was “interrogated and coerced” to “admit something that did not happen.”

In retracting his allegations against De Lima, Ragos told reporters he wanted to “clear something that has been on my chest since this has been concealed for so long.”

“It doesn’t matter if these people would get mad at me, what matters here is the truth. Those who did wrongdoings would be mad. What do I care?” Ragos had said.

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De Lima, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, has been detained since February 2017 over what she has repeatedly branded as trumped-up drug charges. 


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