De Lima blasts fellow senators over ‘guided’ testimonies at Senate hearing

Published September 12, 2019, 7:30 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Hannah Torregoza

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday slammed the accusations of her fellow senators against her at the continuation of the Senate’s hearing into the alleged anomalies in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

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)

“I vehemently deny and deplore the accusations of certain fellow senators, like Senators (Richard) Gordon and (Francis) Tolentino, and even Sen. (Panfilo) Lacson,” De Lima said in a statement.

At the continuation of the Senate’s probe into the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, former BuCor officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) intelligence agent Jovencio Ablen Jr. both repeated accounts that they delivered money to De Lima’s house in 2012 when she was still Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary.

De Lima, who is facing drug charges, is detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center over allegations she was involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) during her time as DOJ secretary.

“I say they are the ones who accuse me because it was reported to me that they were practically the ones who testified for, if not guided, the testimonies of Ragos and Ablen as presented by Sen. Lacson, who, I was told, asked primarily leading questions,” De Lima pointed out.

“These two NBI official/personnel previously gave perjured testimonies against me during the 2016 House justice committee hearings and also in the ongoing trial in my drug cases pending before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Muntinlupa. They were lying then. They continue to do so,” De Lima further railed.

De Lima noted that the two witnesses did not even have to narrate their testimony.

“Rather than questioning Ragos and Ablen to let them testify, it was Sen. Gordon himself who read out loud the false and malicious imputations against me,” De Lima stressed.

“Ragos and Ablen ended up mechanically confirming what Sen. Gordon read. Sen. Tolentino even attempted to have Ragos confirm prior fake stories which were already debunked,” she said.

The senator further noted that Gordon steered away the discussion from the violations of former BuCor chief and now Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and dismissed BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon and insinuated that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) was written to achieve corrupt ends.

“The IRR reflected the letters of the law. Any problem they have as a result of the implementation of R.A. No. 10592 lies with the law, not the IRR,” she stressed.

“I guess parliamentary courtesy, delicadeza, even basic human decency is out the window in the halls of the Senate,” added the lawmaker.