De Lima: Junking of bribery raps disproves Duterte admin’s ‘Kerwin fairytales’ | Inquirer News

De Lima: Junking of bribery raps disproves Duterte admin’s ‘Kerwin fairytales’

/ 09:18 PM August 10, 2022
Former senator Leila de Lima said on Wednesday that the junking of bribery complaints filed against her before the Office of the Ombudsman disproves the "fairytale" created by the Duterte administration about her supposedly receiving bribe money from a self-confessed drug lord.

Former Sen. Leila de Lima. (FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Former senator Leila de Lima said on Wednesday that the junking of bribery complaints filed against her before the Office of the Ombudsman disproves the “fairytale” created by the Duterte administration about her supposedly receiving bribe money from a self-confessed drug lord.

In a statement she made a day after the Ombudsman resolution was released to the media, De Lima said the latest developments show that the issues and cases raised against her were manufactured — especially since key witnesses have already recanted their statements.

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De Lima hopes the current administration, particularly the Department of Justice (DOJ), would now see that the cases against her have weak evidence.

“The recantations are just the final nail in the coffin of the whole Kerwin fairy tale that was woven by the Duterte administration to add to the Bilibid drug cases they also manufactured against me. One of these cases has since been dismissed,” the former senator, who is still detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, said.

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“That the government cases against me are all lies and used for Duterte’s vengeful satisfaction continues to unravel. It is high time for the Marcos Jr. administration to see them for what they are,” she added.

De Lima was referring to the recantation from convicted drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa — the person that the former senator allegedly bribed, supposedly in exchange for protection. De Lima was the former Justice secretary during the time she supposedly asked for money from Espinosa.

Espinosa said he was only pressured to make the testimonies against De Lima. Another prosecution witness–former Bureau of Corrections head Rafael Ragos–said former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II coerced him into delivering his testimonies.

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

The Ombudsman said in the resolution made public on Tuesday that he found glaring inconsistencies in the testimonies of Espinosa and another inmate, Marcelo Adorco, regarding the bribery complaints.

Under Espinosa’s testimony, former De Lima aide Ronnie Dayan got the money from him. However, Adorco said the former senator directly received the money.

The inaccuracies did not stop there as Espinosa stated that the P8 million supposed bribe was given in four tranches, while Adorco said that the whole sum of money was given during the lunch meeting.

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The Ombudsman also sided with de Lima, who claimed that the supposed meeting in Baguio City with Espinosa was merely a chance encounter brought by the national campaign for the senatorial elections.

READ: Ombudsman junks bribery case vs De Lima, Dayan 

De Lima meanwhile noted that the resolution was drafted and submitted to Ombudsman Samuel Martires in January 2022 — months ahead of the witnesses’ recantation.

“These are the hallmarks of fabricated stories. The OMB’s Resolution aptly observed that even the alleged Baguio meeting was not a planned meeting but a chance encounter. The OMB’s Resolution was finalized for the approval of Ombudsman Samuel Martires on 5 January 2022. This was before the recantation of Kerwin and Adorco,” she stressed.

“Said subsequent recantations, while no longer factored in in the OMB Reso as recently released, all the more fortified it’s finding of no probable cause. In fact, it’s more than lack of probable cause. It’s an utterly baseless charge. Factually inexistent,” she added.

There have been calls from several sectors, including lawmakers from the House of Representatives, for the current DOJ administration to drop the charges against de Lima after the developments.

READ: Solons urge DOJ: Drop De Lima’s drug raps after witnesses recant 

De Lima has been detained for five years after she was suspected of allowing illegal drugs to proliferate inside the New Bilibid Prison — an attached agency of the DOJ.

Former administration officials, including former president Rodrigo Duterte himself, claimed that de Lima should be jailed for her alleged participation in the drug trade.

De Lima however alleged that she is being jailed due to a case of political vendetta, as she led investigations on Duterte’s drug war in the Senate, and probes on human rights violations when the President was still Davao City mayor.

READ: Duterte: ‘Bitch’ De Lima made world believe she’s prisoner of conscience 

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TAGS: DoJ, Kerwin Espinosa, Leila de Lima, Rodrigo Duterte
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