De Lima asks Muntinlupa court to dismiss drug case after Ragos’ revelations

Published May 6, 2022, 6:53 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Detained reelectionist Senator Leila de Lima has asked a Muntinlupa court to immediately dismiss one of the two remaining drug cases filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ) after key witness Rafael Ragos, former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge, revealed that his affidavits and testimonies against the lawmaker were false.

De Lima filed on May 6 a manifestation and omnibus motion for “outright dismissal; immediate release; and/or bail ad cautelam” before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204.

(From left) Detained Senator Leila de Lima, Vitaliano Aguirre II and Rafael Ragos (Jonathan Hicap)

The court is handling case no. 17-165, originally filed in February 2017, which accuses De Lima and Ronnie Dayan of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading that allegedly happened during her stint as justice secretary.

The case stated that from November 2012 to December 2012, De Lima and Dayan “did then and there decide and agree to commit illegal drug trading, in the following manner: the inmates of the National Bilibid Prison, not being authorized by law and through the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices, willfully and unlawfully traded and trafficked dangerous drugs, and thereafter gave and delivered to De Lima and/through Dayan, the proceeds of illegal drug trading amounting to Five Million (P5,000,000.00) Pesos in 24 November 2012 and another Five Million (P5,000,000.00) Pesos on 15 December 2012.”

The case is based mainly on Ragos’ testimonies and affidavits claiming that he and Jovencio Ablen Jr. delivered the P10 million to De Lima’s residence in Paranaque on the two dates.

In his affidavit dated April 30, Ragos cleared De Lima and Dayan, and said he did not deliver any money to the senator and that he was coerced by former Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to pin down the accused. Aguirre denied Ragos’ allegations.

“Ragos is the one and only witness who supposedly witnessed such receipt. No one else. Not Ablen. Not the other witnesses. Only Ragos. Thus, with this 30 April 2022 Affidavit, there stands absolutely zero evidence to prove the guilt of Accused De Lima, warranting her immediate and full exoneration. Ragos’ Affidavit is categorical in stating that Accused De Lima is ‘completely innocent’ of these ‘entirely false and absolutely fabricated criminal charges,’ given that he had declared under oath,” according to De Lima’s motion.

It added, “To be absolutely clear, the full impact of the 30 April 2022 Affidavit of Ragos is not simply in that it contains a retraction of his false testimony against Accused De Lima, but that it actually explains the many holes, direct contradictions, and other badges of falsehoods in his narrative over the years. At best, it fully and absolutely proves the innocence of Accused De Lima.”

According to De Lima, “Without prejudice to other legal remedies and recourse available to herein Accused arising from the facts set forth in the 30 April 2022 Affidavit of Rafael Z. Ragos, including pursuing appropriate contempt, administrative, civil and criminal action against those named in said Affidavit, Accused De Lima respectfully submits that, at this juncture, she is already entitled to the outright dismissal of the charges against her given the utter lack of sufficient evidence to support her conviction; and, at the very least, to immediate release on bail given the utter absence of “strong” evidence of her guilt.”

“Accused De Lima, an innocent woman, has been unjustly detained for 1,893 days now, directly as the product of the pure concoctions of those who conspired to frame her up, using false witnesses that they have threatened, coerced or otherwise incentivized to lie before the court and the public,” it added.

De Lima has asked the court to dismiss the cases against her “for lack of evidence,” direct her immediate release from detention or rule that she is entitled to bail.