De Lima calls for deeper probe into Kerwin Espinosa's testimony
In this Nov. 23, 2016 photo, alleged Filipino drug lord Rolando "Kerwin" Espinosa Jr., center, is escorted back to his seat to testify on his involvement in the illegal drug trade in the country at the resumption of the Senate probe into alleged extra-judicial killings in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war.
AP/Bullit Marquez

De Lima calls for deeper probe into Kerwin Espinosa's testimony

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - April 13, 2018 - 4:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — Detained Sen. Leila de Lima has called for a deeper investigation into the claims of confessed drug trader Kerwin Espinosa who testified in her drug case.

In a statement on Friday, De Lima said that the Department of Justice, Senate, or the Philippine National Police should dig deeper into Espinosa’s testimony that he reportedly recanted in a separate case under probe by the justice department.

“No one is investigating, or will dare investigate, the circumstances surrounding this whole mystery, particularly [Espinosa’s] fabricated story about my links to him and his drug trade,” De Lima lamented. 

“It is because they wouldn’t want the public to know that such recantation most probably included his perjurious claim that I am one of his alleged protectors and an alleged beneficiary of P8M drug money?” the senator added.

Espinosa was put under the Department of Justice’s Witness Protection Program for his testimonies on De Lima’s alleged involvement in the drug trade proliferation in the New Bilibid Prison during her stint as justice chief.

READ: Kerwin drug case and Napoles as state witness 'priorities' of new DOJ chief

Citing weak evidence, Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John Humarang and trial court judge Aristotle Reyes, former ASP, dismissed the police’s drug raps against Espinosa and a dozen others.

Director Roel Obusan, Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said that they banked on Espinosa admitting to drug dealing in the DOJ-led investigation.

Obusan admitted to not attaching Espinosa’s confession at the Senate to their complaint. He said that they will file the transcript of Espinosa’s testimony in the DOJ’s reopening of the case.

De Lima added that the CIDG already said that Espinosa recanted. “If that is the case, wouldn’t his reported recantation serve to nullify his WPP coverage on the ground of serious breach of his agreement with the government as represented by then Justice Secretary [Vitaliano Aguirre II] in his capacity as WPP Chief Implementor?”

A new panel of prosecutors, created by Aguirre, conducted a preliminary investigation into the case on Thursday.

De Lima has been detained at the PNP headquarters in Quezon City since February 2017. She has yet to be arraigned in the drug charges against her.

RELATED: Hilbay: Drug war only for Duterte admin foes

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