2 witnesses in last drug rap vs De Lima withdraw testimonies

October 16, 2023 | 7:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — Two witnesses recanted their testimonies in the third drug case against former senator Leila De Lima, according to a document seen by Philstar.com.

Former policeman Rodolfo Magleo, the witness who accused De Lima of being involved in illegal drug trade with late high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian, withdrew his testimony together with fellow witness Nonilo Arile because they were “bothered by good conscience.”

“We are bothered by our conscience. We do not want you to be victim of mistrial. We will reveal in due time. We are assuring you all that the last case will be dismissed,” the witnesses wrote in a letter dated Oct. 12, 2023, addressed to De Lima.

The witnesses also said that they wanted to recant their testimonies since 2018 but were restricted “due to impossibility of communication.” They did not elaborate the communication mentioned.

According to Magleo and Arile, five other witnesses will also withdraw their testimonies.

De Lima has been detained since 2017 due to her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade inside New Bilibid Prison with three cases filed against her. She has been acquitted in two of the three cases.

The former senator and former justice secretary was acquitted in her second case after Rafael Ragos, a former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge who was a star witness against De Lima, recanted his allegation.

De Lima’s last pending case was raffled to the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 last July after two judges inhibited from the proceedings that month.

The Muntinlupa RTC Branch 206 Presiding Judge Gener Gito last August ordered three witnesses including Magleo, former policemen Froilan Trestiza and gang leader Jaime Patcho to testify in court hearings against De Lima.


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