After review, DOJ says prosecution of De Lima’s drugs cases to proceed

Published June 14, 2022, 3:35 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

DOJ (2)

Based on review of the evidence presented and still to be presented by a panel of prosecutors, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will proceed with the prosecution in court of detained Sen. Leila M. de Lima.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Tuesday, June 14, said:

“As far as the ‘retractions’ of certain persons are concerned, the prosecution takes the position that until these persons are actually presented in court for examination to ascertain their truthfulness, their alleged recantations have no probative value whatsoever.

“In any event, the final say on the disposition of the cases rests on the judge alone and no other.”

Guevarra also said De Lima’s cases have been discussed with incoming DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla during their meeting on the transition at DOJ.

“It’s up to Cong. Remulla. But I think he will also be guided by the assessment of the panel of prosecutors who are actually handling the trial of the cases,” he said.

There have been calls for the DOJ to drop the illegal drugs cases filed against De Lima who is currently detained at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Several witnesses have recanted their tesmonies against De Lima, among them were former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director for Intelligence and then Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Rafael Marcos Z. Ragos and self-confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa.

The DOJ had earlier said the recanted testimonies will not affect the cases filed against De Lima.

Meanwhile, government prosecutors said they will not oppose the medical furlough sought by De Lima for a major operation.

“We will not object, subject to usual protocols only,” Prosecutor General Benedicto A. Malcontento said.

Malcontento said the protocols include “security arrangements, no media interviews relating to the merits of the cases, to submit reports of the medical procedures to the court and related matters.”

Last Monday, De Lima’s counsel Filibon Tacardon asked the regional trial courts where the senator’s cases are pending to grant her medical furlough after her doctors told her the need to undergo a major operation on her uterus.