PDEA defers to courts’ decision after Espinosa recants claim vs de Lima

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) stressed Friday, April 29, that it will let the court decide on the case of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa after hr recanted his statements against detained Senator Leila de Lima’s supposed illegal drug trade involvement in the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) when she was Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary.

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"As to the matter of PDL (persons deprived of liberty) Kerwin Epinosa's retraction of his statements pertinent to cases lodged against Senator Leila De Lima, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will defer to the decision of the courts as to the implication of this recantation," the PDEA said in a statement.

The agency also noted that DOJ Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento had previously given his opinion, saying Espinosa's retraction "has no bearing on the cases against Sen. De Lima."

Although PDEA was not involved in the filing of cases against either Espinosa or De Lima, the PDEA said that it was "dispassionately interested in uncovering the truth and prosecuting those involved in the illegal drugs.’’

Espinosa made the retraction following the filing of drug trafficking charges against him by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before the Department of Justice-National Prosecution Office (DOJ-NPS ) after being removed from the Witness Protection Program (WPP) last Feb. due to several infractions like his alleged attempt to escape from his cell at the NBI detention facility.

He said that his extrajudicial confession and the statements at the Senate hearings contained made-up stories to implicate De Lima to the illegal drug activities inside the NBP during her time as the Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary.

“ny and all his statements given during the Senate hearings, or in the form of sworn affidavit, against Senator Leila de Lima are not true,” read part of Espinosa’s counter-affidavit.

Espinosa had been under WPP since 2017 as he was used as a witness against De Lima’s supposed illegal drug links.