Espinosa retraction won't affect drug charges vs. De Lima --- Andanar

Malacañang said that self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa retracting his accusations against detained Senator Leila de Lima has no weight on the charges lodged against the lawmaker.

Kerwin Espinosa (file photo)

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said this after Espinosa cleared De Lima of drug accusations, saying he only made those statements against her because he was supposedly "coerced, pressured, intimidated and seriously threatened."

In a statement, Andanar said the withdrawal of allegations against the lady senator has no bearing on the charges she is facing.

"While Kerwin Espinosa appears to have recanted his allegations against Senator Leila de Lima, his recantation will not have any effect on the pending criminal cases against the lady senator," he said Friday, April 29.

"We have to underscore what the Prosecutor General said -- Mr. Espinosa is not a state witness," he added.

In a counter-affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 28, Espinosa apologized to De Lima for his allegations about her supposed involvement in the illegal drug trade.

“Any statement he made against the senator is false and was the result only of pressure, coercion, intimidation, and serious threats to his life and family members from the police who instructed him to implicate the Senator into the alleged drug trade," the affidavit read.

Espinosa initially said that he paid De Lima payout drug money through her bodyguard Ronnie Dayan.

The staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, De Lima has been behind bars for drug charges since February 24, 2017. She was already acquitted in one of her three cases.

De Lima said she does not regret standing up to President Duterte's "inhumane policies," which she said had kept her in unjust detention for the past five years.