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Another witness denies link with De Lima, retracts claims vs detained senator

/ 06:11 PM May 31, 2022
Leila de Lima and Joel Capones retracts claims

Sen. Leila de Lima and prosecution witness Joel Capones, (FILE PHOTOS)

MANILA, Philippines — Prosecution witness and convicted murderer Joel Capones denied in open court that he had transacted with, identified, or even knew Senator Leila De Lima.

This was stated by Atty. Filibon “Boni” Tacardon, one of De Lima’s legal counsels, after a hearing at the Muntinlupa regional trial court on Monday — which was the continuation of the cross-examination of Capones, who alleged that De Lima received drug money from the late high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian.

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“Una is inamin niya sa kanyang cross-examination na wala siyang transaksyon at hindi niya kakilala si Senator De Lima at kung meron man siyang naging transaksyon, engaged sa illegal drug trade, ito ay kay Jaybee Sebastian lang,” said Tacardon.

(First, he admitted in his cross-examination that he did not have a transaction and that he did not know Senator De Lima and if ever there was a transaction or engagement in the illegal drug trade, it was only with Jaybee Sebastian.)

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“Pero dahil wala na, namatay na si Jaybee Sebastian, hindi na mapapasubalian ni Jaybee Sebastian ang sinasabi nyang transaksyon nya tungkol sa ilegal na droga,” he added.

(But since Jaybee Sebastian has passed, he can no longer dispute his alleged transaction regarding illegal drugs.)

Apart from this, Capones now also denies ever seeing Sebastian hand money to De Lima.

“Pangalawang punto na tingin namin na maganda ay nung tinanong sya—nung unang tinanong sya sa direct examination, ang sabi nya nakita nya na may inabot na pera daw si Jaybee Sebastian. Pero nung tinanong ulit namin yun nung cross examination, exact words na sinabi nya ay ‘anong pera’?” Tacardon explained.

(The second point that we think is good is when he was asked — when he was first asked in the direct examination, he said he saw that Jaybee Sebastian had handed [De Lima] money. But when we asked him again during the cross-examination, the exact words he said were ‘what money?’)

Capones also denied personally knowing De Lima and her former aide Ronnie Dayan and having personal transactions with them.

With another witness failing to link De Lima to the illegal drug trade, Tacardon said he believed the Prosecution still has yet to present strong and sufficient evidence to justify De Lima’s detention.

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Meanwhile, in seeking reconsideration of the dismissal of the complaint against Capones, De Lima’s lawyers stressed that “we are not questioning the legal principle that a mere confession, and indeed the mere testimony of an alleged co-conspirator, which is not corroborated by the corpus delicti, is insufficient to put a person on trial, much less for conviction.”

“That has been our unwavering position since 2016. But this complaint against Capones is at the preliminary investigation stage, and yet the DOJ cannot even be moved to lift a finger and issue a subpoena to get him to answer for his own self-confessed crimes? By the same token, the cases against the Senator should never have progressed beyond the DOJ preliminary investigation back in November 2016. Instead, they did their best to waste five years of a human being’s life, and an elected Senator’s mandate out of fear of the truth she speaks,” they added.

READ: Another witness retracts accusations vs De Lima, says he was ‘coerced’

Prior to this new testimony from Capones, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, former Bureau of Corrections Officer-in-Charge Rafael Ragos, and De Lima’s former aide Ronnie Dayan all retracted their initial testimonies and allegations against De Lima.

Espinosa claimed that he was coerced by cops, Ragos claimed that he was interrogated and coerced by former Department of Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II of testifying against the detained senator, while Dayan said all his statements against De Lima were made “under duress.”

De Lima had been detained since February 24, 2017.

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Espinosa retraction sends flicker of light in De Lima’s ordeal 

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

‘Greatest frame-up’ unraveling – De Lima lawyer

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TAGS: De Lima drug cases, Jaybee Sebastian, Joel Capones, Leila de Lima, Rafael Ragos, trumped up charges
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