“The incoming (Marcos) administration would concretize its call for unity if, upon assumption, the president would take the steps necessary to secure (De Lima’s) release”
That former Senator De Lima is a victim of a frame-up and fabricated accusations is getting more obvious by the day with the recent recantations of prosecution witnesses.
At the onset, numerous organizations and individuals, local and foreign, have been calling all along for her release as there have been serious doubts about the veracity of the accusation against her.
First to recant was Kerwin Espinosa, a confessed drug lord, who made a statement that he had no dealings with the detained lawmaker; that he was “only coerced, pressured, intimidated, and seriously threatened by the police” during Senate hearings in November and December 2016.
Then next to retract was former BuCor Chief Rafael Ragos, stating in his new affidavit dated April 30 that “all of my allegations to the contrary in my affidavits and House and court testimonies are all fiction, false, and fabricated.”
Ragos previously stated in an affidavit that he, accompanied by Jovencio Ablen of the National Bureau of Investigation, delivered P10 million to De Lima’s house in Parañaque: P5 million on Nov. 24, 2012 and another P5 million on Dec. 15, 2012.
Then another witness retracted his claims against De Lima. This time its Ronnie Dayan, the senator’s former security aide who denied getting P10 million from Ragos, the star witness of the prosecution.
And the latest, but not necessarily the last, Marcelo Adorco, who testified on the shabu and money seized during a raid in Espinosa’s house in Albuera, Leyte in August 2016.
He too recanted his allegation that De Lima and self-confessed drug lord Espinosa met up in Baguio City. At the bail hearing, a prosecution witness also denied knowing, transacting with the jailed lawmaker.
With this series of recantations, the truth and the whole truth is unraveling before our eyes with dizzying speed.
The cases for the prosecution that De Lima is linked to the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison when she was justice chief are crumbling like a house of cards.
With no more witnesses and, so far, no damning incriminating evidence to prove the charges, the cases against de Lima have no more leg to stand on.
That most of the witnesses against her have backtracked and repudiated their previous statements is an affirmation of the truth that the accusations are but malicious fabrications by some unscrupulous individual to silence her.
The very least the prosecution can do is to withdraw their objections over the petition for bail filed by De Lima’s camp.
Of course, whether or not the cases will be dismissed depends mostly on the appreciation of extant evidence by the courts handling the cases.
But it cannot be denied that the recent developments seriously weakened, if not, dealt a fatal blow on the remaining cases.
Five years can be a long time to suffer in jail for one’s principles and convictions.
Over the years we can only admire how the good Senator comported herself all throughout the ordeal which could have broken lesser individuals.
But she remained defiant and steadfast in her resolve to seek justice, to fight for what she believes is right.
As an elected public servant, she continued to discharge her duties with fidelity, never for a moment did she shirk away from her obligation to fight for what is right, exposing anomalies and irregularities in the incumbent administration without fear.
The whole world is witness to the woman’s remarkable courage and unbreakable spirit even if the cards were stacked against her.
Former Senator (soon to be Congressman) Ralph Recto put it most aptly when he joined the chorus and delivered an impassioned speech during the last session day of the 18th Congress for her release.
He characterized De Lima as a “feisty lady worthy of our respect.”xxx a “prisoner of conscience, punished for her courage, but whose spirit no prison walls could contain.” And that “Trolls put her behind bars. The truth shall set her free.”
The incoming administration of Bongbong Marcos would concretize its call for unity if, upon assumption, the president would take the steps necessary to secure her release.
Surely, to keep her in detention is an indictment to us as a people.
True, the judicial process has begun and that should be allowed to conclude.
But what the Department of Justice can do, after proper review, is to withdraw its objections to the good Senator’s petitions for bail.
In fact, I always thought that Secretary Menardo Guevarra would have the courage to do this. He has been a big disappointment in this regard.
The handwriting is on the wall – the courts will eventually order the release of Senator De Lima.
The incoming Marcos administration, through decisive action by its designated Secretary of Justice, Jesus Crispin Remulla, whom I personally know to be a lawyer’s lawyer even as our politics differ, should take the credit for this.
This would be a low hanging fruit indeed for the call to unity that Marcos said is the mark of his government.
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