Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Monday called for the release of detained Sen. Leila de Lima after several witnesses retracted their allegations linking the senator to illegal drugs.
In a statement, Robredo said De Lima’s detention was baseless as no documentary evidence had been brought against the senator.
“Mahigit limang taon nang nakakulong si Sen. Leila de Lima pero kahit isang gramo ng ilegal na droga, kahit isang pahina ng documentary evidence, walang naihain laban sa kanya,” Robredo said.
“Ngayon, pati ang mga testimonyang ginamit na batayan ng pagpapakulong kay Senator Leila ay isa-isa nang binabawi ng mga nagbigay nito,” he added.
Robredo said De Lima should not be vilified for speaking the truth and fighting for the rights of Filipinos.
“Patunay lang ito ng katotohanang matagal ko nang iginigiit: Walang kaso laban kay Sen. Leila de Lima. Ang tanging kasalanan niya ay ang magsabi ng totoo at ipagtanggol ang karapatan ng mga kapwa natin Pilipino,” Robredo said.
Self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa earlier retracted his claim, that he had paid De Lima drug money through Ronnie Dayan, a former bodyguard of the senator.
“Any statement he made against the senator is false and was the result only of pressure, coercion, intimidation, and serious threats to his life and family members from the police who instructed him to implicate the senator into the illegal drug trade,” his counter-affidavit read.
Rafael Ragos, former deputy director for intelligence of the National Bureau of Investigation and a key witness against De Lima, also recanted his allegations, saying he had been coerced by former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
De Lima has been detained since Feb. 24, 2017 for alleged links to the drug trade when she was secretary of the DOJ.
She was acquitted in one of her three cases last year due to lack of evidence. John Ezekiel J. Hirro