Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Friday called for the immediate release of former Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained in Camp Crame since 2017.
“The prosecution has failed to support with enough evidence the drug charges it has filed against the former senator.
It’s time for it to withdraw the complaint so that former Senator De Lima could be freed immediately,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Rodriguez said the decision of Muntinlupa Trial Court Judge Abraham Joseph Alcantara to allow former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Rafael Ragos to testify to formalize his retraction of his testimony against the respondent “is an embarrassment for prosecutors who have tried to block the appearance of the witness in court.”
“What is the prosecution afraid of? They should test Mr. Ragos’ retraction in an open hearing by grilling him. Do they fear that Mr. Ragos would survive their questioning and his recantation would be strengthened?” the former law dean asked.
He said the former BuCor official’s change of heart is the latest in a series of retractions by those who have accused De Lima of allegedly benefitting from the drug trade carried out by inmates in the New Bilibid Prisons.
Suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and former De Lima aide Ronnie Dayan earlier recanted their allegations against the former senator.
Rodriguez said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is obviously pursuing a losing proposition.
“Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla would not lose face but would instead reap praises if he orders the immediate withdrawal of the complaint to allow Atty. De Lima to enjoy her freedom and her rights again.”
At the same time, Rodriguez urged Remulla to order a crackdown on illegal activities being carried out by drug convicts in the NBP.
He said the claim of the suspect in the killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid that their marching order came from a drug detainee in the NBP is proof of such illicit pursuits.