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‘What baloney!’ De Lima denies threatening Bilibid inmates

/ 10:38 AM July 28, 2017

In this file photo taken on June 30, 2017, Senator Leila de Lima gives her sentiments to the media as she steps out of the Muntinlupa regional trial court room following the deferment of a court proceeding for her second drug trade charge.
PHOTO BY ERMA EDERA / PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

Senator Leila de Lima vehemently denied that she was behind the threats against the “Bilibid 19” convicts who refused to be sent back to the maximum security compound for fear of their lives.

“Binabaliktad na naman nila ang istorya at pinapalabas na ako ang mananakot sa kanila para bawiin ang kanilang mga testimonya laban sakin. Ang titindi talaga nilang gumawa ng kwento at magpakalat ng mga kasinungalingan (They are again reversing the whole story to make it appear I am threatening them to recant their testimony against me. They are a bunch of liars spreading lies!)!” De Lima said in her latest dispatch from detention on Friday.

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READ: Aguirre orders return of high-profile inmates to maximum security

Returning the convicts to the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) might prompt some of them to retract their testimonies against De Lima, lawyer Francis Acejas III, counsel of one of the inmates, said on Wednesday.

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Eight inmates have testified in several congressional hearings that De Lima had sourced campaign funds from the illegal drug trade inside NBP. The senator, who has been detained since February over the accusations, denied this, saying the fabricated allegations were made to silence her.

Some of the high-profile inmates are at the NBP medium security compound while others are detained inside Camp Aguinaldo.

“If they are brought back to the maximum security compound, we believe there are still certain shadowy or unknown personalities that might make an attempt on their lives,” Acejas said.

Reacting to the insinuation that the “shadowy personalities” are acting on her behalf or for her interests, De Lima said: “What baloney!”

De Lima named some public officials who contracted persons to “threaten, coerce, blackmail, bribe or otherwise induce or influence those convicts and other gullible individuals into lying and testifying about (her) alleged drug links.”

“I call them the “agents of vengeance” contracted and deployed by (President Rodrigo) Duterte and his cohorts, principally, (Justice Secretary Vitaliano) Aguirre (II), (Solicitor General Jose) Calida, (Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida) Acosta, as aided by the likes of Sandra Cam and Atty. (Ferdinand) Topacio, to undertake a massive evidence fabrication including subornation of perjury against me, in order to actualize Duterte’s obsessive and vindictive agenda to lock me up in jail,” she said.

“And they succeeded.”

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But the detained senator remained hopeful that the convicts who were “coerced” to testify against her will come clean once Duterte’s administration is over.

“Time will come when, in an atmosphere of truth-telling, these convicts and other so-called witnesses will come clean and disavow their respective perjurious statements. Can this happen soon? Most unlikely, for as long as these convicts-witnesses are within the control or at the mercy of the authorities,” she said.

“It will happen when the oppressive reign of this wicked regime ends,” De Lima said.  JPV/rga

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TAGS: Bilibid 9, Drug Trade, Leila de Lima, NBP, Senate of the Philippines, Vitialiano Aguirre III
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