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De Lima to DOJ: Probe deeper into my case

Sen. Leila de Lima. STORY: De Lima to DOJ: Probe deeper into my case

Sen. Leila de Lima (COMPOSITE IMAGE FROM FILE PHOTOS)

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima on Monday implored the Department of Justice (DOJ) to “dig deeper” in reevaluating the evidence against her, saying that the DOJ “must go beyond a superficial review of the cold statements or affidavits of the witnesses.”

This comes after outgoing Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Saturday said they would be taking a second look at the remaining evidence against the detained senator, following the recantations of key witnesses who linked her to the alleged illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary.

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“[Justice] Secretary Menardo Guevarra should not be doing a Pontius Pilate by just pointing to his predecessor as the initiator of the cases against me,” De Lima said.

Evidence to be reviewed

She said Guevarra was “morally and legally bound” to assess the recantation of the “star witnesses” in the House and Senate hearings, referring to Rafael Ragos, Ronnie Dayan, and Kerwin Espinosa.

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In a Viber message to the Inquirer, Guevarra said he had ordered state prosecutors to review the evidence in the last two drug cases against De Lima in the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court.

“The prosecution needs to reassess the strength of its overall evidence in the light of the retractions of certain witnesses,” Guevarra said.

The staunch critic of President Duterte’s war on drugs had been in police custody since February 2017 for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.

On April 28, confessed drug lord Espinosa took back his allegations that linked the senator to the illegal drug trade inside New Bilibid Prison in a counteraffidavit submitted to the DOJ.

Shortly after the first recantation, Ragos, a former officer in charge of the Bureau of Corrections, submitted an affidavit notarized on April 30, alleging that then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II “coerced” him to testify against De Lima.

Dayan, De Lima’s former aide, claimed the late House justice committee chair Reynaldo Umali “coerced” him to fabricate stories on how he got money from Espinosa.

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TAGS: De Lima drug cases, Department of Justice, Leila de Lima, Menardo Guevarra
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