Senator Richard Gordon said the two key witnesses in the case against Senator Leila de Lima are liable for perjury after recanting their bombshell testimony.
Gordon, the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights chairman, said that Rafael Ragos and Kerwin Espinosa should be investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) if they had indeed made false testimony.
“Both persons have already admitted to perjury. Both testimonies contradict each other, and it is very important that the DOJ investigates to know if there was indeed perjury,” Gordon said during a televised interview on Thursday.
“They should go after Ragos, go after Espinosa because these are statements under oath and that is the bedrock of prosecution of cases,” stressed Gordon, who is running for re-election in the May 2022 senatorial polls.
Ragos and Espinosa reportedly took a 180-degree turn in their respective testimonies, and said they were coerced and pressured by former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
Ragos, a former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief, now denied that he personally delivered drug money to de Lima on two separate occasions in 2012, when the latter served as Justice secretary.
On the other hand, Espinosa, a self-confessed drug lord, claimed recently that his testimony where he described de Lima’s alleged drug deals were false and made under coercion, pressure, and intimidation with the police.
A lawyer by profession, Gordon said the DOJ should expedite its investigation, as it is de Lima's right to enjoy a speedy disposition.
“From the basis of the law, from what I studied. Sen. de Lima is being denied her day in court, prosecuted by spurious witnesses who are not recanting their testimony,” explained Gordon.
“And that is why the DOJ must immediately step in and conduct an investigation as soon as possible, Otherwise, they should just let her go,” he reiterated.
Under Republic Act (RA) 11594, or an Act Increasing the Penalties for Perjury, which was authored and sponsored by Gordon, Ragos and Espinosa could be incarcerated up to 10 years if found guilty.
Moreover, Ragos will be slapped with a P1-million fine and be perpetually disqualified from holding any appointive or elective positions in government if he is found guilty.