DOJ watches raps against Espinosa for his knockdown on De Lima

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is considering filing perjury charges against drug lord Kerwin Espinosa after recanting his testimony that linked opposition Senator Leila de Lima to illegal drug trafficking.

In a message to reporters on Friday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he was discussing the matter with the panel of prosecutors, a day after Espinosa withdrew his previous allegation that he had drug dealings with him. From Lima to New Bilibid Prison through his personal driver Ronnie Dayan. .

De Lima’s attorney and spokesperson, Dino de Leon, told CNN Philippines they see value in Espinosa’s reversal and said they could use him as a witness for the defense.

“This Kerwin testimony is actually a reality check. And the real picture is that the witnesses are threatened, coerced and they are violently threatened, not only them but their families,” De Leon told CNN.

De Lima said Espinosa’s confession demonstrates efforts by President Rodrigo Duterte and his people to fabricate testimonies and evidence against her.

“As I have always said, all the allegations against me fabricated by the Duterte machine of lies and fabrications would eventually come crashing down,” she said.

Espinosa previously believed in Senate hearings that De Lima was part of the illegal drug trade as Justice Secretary under the Aquino administration – a charge she has always denied.

In a counter affidavit filed with the DOJ on April 28, Espinosa said he had no relation to De Lima and pointed out that his previous sworn affidavits against the senator were not true.

The senator said she always believed that no matter how much Duterte lies and uses false witnesses against her, the truth will always come out to set her free in the end.

“I have been languishing in prison for five years based on testimony from convicted felons who, like Kerwin Espinosa, have been used by the DOJ to fabricate lies about me and crimes I did not commit.

“As Duterte leaves office, it is expected that more of these convicted witnesses will come out and confess that they were intimidated, coerced or bribed into making up the ridiculous and impossible story that I received money from illegal drug trafficking,” she said.

“I also expect them to reveal the names of the Duterte officials who participated in this gross set-up, so that I can finally hold these people to account for what they did to me,” he said. she added.

In a separate statement posted to Twitter, De Lima said Duterte’s lies were finally coming to an end as he neared the end of his presidency.

“Duterte and his minions used all their power and abused the power of the government just to destroy me and send me to prison. As their power ends, so will their lies and the truth will finally set me free,” she said.

Responding to Espinosa’s apology, De Lima, in a separate tweet, said she had already forgiven him.

This month, former De Lima aide and co-defendant in one of the two remaining cases, Dyan denied receiving and delivering drug money to De Lima, a protest filed outside branches 204 and 256 of the Muntinlupa Regional Court of First Instance.

The Palace played down Espinosa’s recantation, saying it would have no effect on the pending cases against the senator.

“While Kerwin Espinosa appears to have retracted his allegations against Senator Leila de Lima, his retraction will have no effect on the pending criminal proceedings against the senator,” acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said.

“We have to emphasize what the Attorney General said – Espinosa is not a state witness,” Andanar added.

In a counter-affidavit submitted Thursday to the Justice Department, Espinosa withdrew his claim that De Lima authorized the proliferation of illegal drugs in New Bilibid prison.

He added that he had been threatened by the police to make up stories out of fear for his life and that of his family.

Human Rights Watch urged the government to release De Lima from detention.

“Kerwin Espinosa’s recantation of the allegations he made against Senator Leila de Lima should end five years in police custody,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“Authorities should release her immediately and dismiss the false charges that prompted her arrest in February 2017,” he said.

“Espinosa said in an affidavit that all of his allegations against the senator – primarily, that she received money from drug lords when she was attorney general’s secretary – are false and that her testimony involving was the result of “pressure, coercion, intimidation and serious threats to his life and family members from the police who ordered him to implicate the senator in the alleged drug dealing,” Robertson said.

“Espinosa’s revelation reveals how the Duterte administration manipulated the Philippines’ criminal justice system against a sitting senator who was critical of the ‘war on drugs’ and sought the truth about thousands of murders,” he said. -he declares.

“It should compel the international community to pursue accountability against President Duterte and those who are complicit in the violence of the ‘War on Drugs,'” Robertson also said.

Presidential candidate Senator Manny Pacquiao has called for the immediate resolution of the criminal charges against De Lima, so that she can be freed if her innocence is proven.

He said the case was dragging on, with De Lima having been denied his freedom for years.

Vice presidential candidate Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said the government should release De Lima immediately.

“Now that Kerwin Espinosa has withdrawn all of his charges against Senator Leila De Lima, Senator Leila should be freed now,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan pointed out that Espinosa’s confession proved that the charges against De Lina were fabricated.

He described De Lima’s detention for more than five years as a “big slap in the face” against justice.

De Lima’s legal adviser, Filibon Tacardon, said they had always believed that no matter how many lies perpetrated by coerced witnesses, in the end the truth would always come out.

He expressed hope that other witnesses will also come out and confess how they were intimidated, coerced and bribed into giving false testimony against De Lima.

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