High-profile inmates to remain true to testimony vs De Lima
High-profile inmates who testified against Senator Leila De Lima will stand by their testimony even with the order of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to transfer them back to their original cells at the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Atty. Ferdinand Topacio said Wednesday.
“There is no such move to recant. I personally talked to them so I know that for a fact,” Topacio said. He said that he talked to his clients, Noel Martinez, Herbert Colanggo, Joel Capones, and Rodolfo Magleo.
“Sabi sa ‘kin (They told me) while they do not want to be transferred, wala naman sinasabing magrerecant sila (they’re not saying they will recant),” Topacio said.
He said that the inmates are asking him if they can seek an audience with Aguirre in order to clarify which building they will be stationed.
Topacio hypothesized that this “recanting” rumor is a feeble attempt to “weaken the case against De Lima.”
Talks of recanting started when Atty. Francis Acejas III, who represents inmate Froilan Trestiza, released a letter about the inmates’ appeal to be transferred to another building aside from Building 14.
“That (recantation) could be a possibility and that would be rather disastrous in a manner of speaking because if these witnesses will not cooperate then the privileges under the Witness Protection Program will be taken away from them. But what about the government’s efforts to pin down some personalities?” Acejas said at a press conference.
But when contacted for clarification later in the day, Acejas said there is no plan for his client to recant but only an appeal for Aguirre not to transfer them back to the maximum security compound.
One of the reasons listed in the letter opposing the transfer is a “clear, real and present danger,” citing the stabbing incident at Building 14 last year.
However, Acejas contradicted himself when he stated that there is no actual threat. But he said that the inmates’ appeal is “for their own safety and protection.” Ma. Daphne Crystal Umali / JPV
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