De Lima’s camp blasts Valeroso’s contradicting statements at trial

Published September 19, 2018, 4:41 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Jonathan Hicap
The camp of detained Sen. Leila de Lima has scored the contradicting statements of prosecution witness, retired police officer Jerry Valeroso, during the trial at Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206.

FACING ARREST – Senator Leila de Lima is in fighting form in this photo taken at a press conference in the Senate last Tuesday. A regional trial court on Thursday ordered her arrest. (Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin)
Senator Leila de Lima (Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin)

Valeroso was presented as the second witness of government prosecutors in the trial where De Lima and six others are accused of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.

According to Filibon Tacardon, De Lima’s legal counsel, “Valeroso testified that he saw P65 million worth of drug proceeds at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). The money was allegedly inside the luxury prison cell of convicted Chinese drug lord Sam Li Chua who told him that it was for the senatorial bid of then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.”

However, Tacardon said, this contradicts Valeroso’s testimony at the House of Representatives hearing in 2016 in which he said he learned of the supposed P65 million through his informant Nonilo Arile, a prisoner serving sentence for kidnapping for ransom.

“He was confronted with the transcript of his testimony before the House of Representatives showing the conflict but he merely claimed that he was not aware of such testimony,” Tacardon said.

He added that when Valeroso was questioned by the prosecution, the witness “claimed he was introduced by Arile to known drug traders inside the NBP, including Jaybee Nino Sebastian, Herbert Colangco and the Bilibid 19. However, on cross examination by the defense, he denied being introduced to Colangco.”

Tacardon pointed out that during the trial, Valeroso said he tapped Arile as his asset when he was still at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) “but he admitted there is neither official document to prove this nor was it approved by any higher official.”

Government prosecutor Darwin Cañete told The Manila Bulletin hat Valeroso’s information about the P65 million was “based on his interaction with Sam Li Chua, isa sa mga drug lords.”