AMLC, PDEA officials confirm no evidence implicating De Lima in illegal drug trade — lawyer

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
AMLC, PDEA officials confirm no evidence implicating De Lima in illegal drug trade â lawyer
Sen. Leila De Lima to attend court trial at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 on August 16, 2019.
Office of Sen.Leila de Lima / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Officials from the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency testified that Sen. Leila de Lima was not involved in any anomalous transactions linking her to the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison, her lawyer said Friday.  

Lawyer Boni Tacardon, De Lima’s legal counsel, in a statement revealed that AMLC Financial Investigator Artemio Baculi Jr. and PDEA Digital Forensic Examiner Krystal Caseñas during a hearing "both affirmed that they found no suspicious transactions between De Lima and drug convicts." 

The hearing was held at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 on Friday and was attended by De Lima — currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City — via teleconference.

"Earlier, Mr. Artemio Baculi of AMLC presented Criminal Case 165 and he said that even though he heard Senator De Lima's name in the conversations, he never investigated the senator," Tacardon was quoted as saying in Filipino by De Lima's office. 

According to Tacardon, the AMLC investigator also testified that there was no transaction between inmate Peter Co, Ronnie Dayan — who are co-accused in the case— and De Lima.

"It may be recalled that Baculi first appeared before Branch 205 last Sept. 25 wherein he admitted that his investigation of people suspected to have been involved in the Bilibid drug trade showed that no money flowed from the bank accounts which were the subject of his investigation to either De Lima or her co-accused in Criminal Case No. 17-166, Jose Adrian Dera," De Lima's office said. 

READ: AMLC investigator testified De Lima not involved in Bilibid drug trade, her lawyer says

Co said he delivered P5 million twice to Dera. The money was supposedly meant to fund the senatorial campaign of De Lima who was then justice secretary. However, Tarcadon said that a PDEA official revealed "very crucial information" on this during the hearing. 

"In Criminal Case No. 166, the prosecution presented Ms. Crystal Caseñas. What she said earlier is very important, because she admitted during our questioning, that in the cellphone extraction report released by the PDEA through Caseñas, there was no mention [of any drug related transactions] between Jad Dera... and Senator De Lima," Tarcadon explained in Filipino. 

The lawyer further added that, in the drug lords' cellphones held by PDEA, there was no mention of De Lima being part of a drug transaction, according to the Caseñas. 

"Caseñas’ affidavit indicating that the cellphones she received from the Bureau of Corrections were Peter Co’s property, meanwhile, was stricken off by the Court, as this was only her opinion," De Lima's office said. Tacardon also pointed out that Caseñas may have violated the Cybercrime Law when she examined Co’s phones without proper warrant.

"De Lima recently filed two separate and distinct Motions for Bail for both Conspiracy to Commit Illegal Drug Trading cases, asserting that the Prosecution's evidence against her is not strong, and in fact confirmatory of her innocence of the charges. As of this writing, Judge Liezel Aquiatan has yet to rule on both Motions," her office said.

READ: Saying evidence against her is weak, De Lima seeks provisional liberty 

— with reports from Kristine Joy Patag




As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 13, 2022 - 6:44pm

Sen. Leila de Lima on Saturday marked the first year of her detention at the Philippine National Police detention center in Quezon City.

Ahead of the anniversary of her arrest, the Senate minority and various rights groups called on the Philippine government to release her immediately.  

The Department of Justice initially charged De Lima for drug trading, but over the months, the state prosecutors filed motions to amend the charges and indict the senator on conspiracy to commit drug trading instead.

De Lima is known as one of the most outspoken critics of President Rodrigio Duterte's administration. 

May 13, 2022 - 6:44pm

Ronnie Dayan, former aide of Sen. Leila de Lima, has recanted his testimonies against the detained senator.

De Lima's legal counsel Rolly Francis Peoro says Dayan confirms that there was no delivery of P10 million to him or to De Lima.

"So nirecant niya lahat yung sinasabi niya. The testimony was not voluntary," Peoro says.

May 2, 2022 - 9:00am

Ex-BuCor OIC Rafael Ragos, another key witness against Sen. Leila De Lima recants allegations against the detained opposition lawmaker in an affidavit executed on April 30.

"I now hereby declare.. that there is no truth whatsoever to any of these affidavits or House and court testimonies, or any other statement... on the delivery of monies to Sec. De Lima or Ronnie Dayan in whatever amount," Ragos says. — Kristine Joy Patag

April 28, 2022 - 4:17pm

Confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa recants his allegations vs Sen. Leila de Lima.

He says he has no dealings with De Lima and “has not given her money at any given time.”

The recantation is contained in a counter-affidavit Espinosa filed in a pending NBI complaint before the DOJ. His lawyer, Atty. Raymund Palad, tells Philstar.com  that his client signed the counter-affidavit on Wednesday in Bicutan. — Kristine Joy Patag

February 17, 2021 - 6:53pm

Opposition Sen. Leila de Lima says she's elated after being acquitted in one of the drug charges she is facing.


"To be acquitted even in just one case, in the time of Duterte, is a victory," the opposition says in a statement Wednesday. 

"Na-deny man ang ating Demurrer to Evidence at Motion for Bail sa Criminal Case No. 17-165, naniniwala ako at ang aking mga abogado na mahina ang ebidensya ng gobyerno dito para patunayan ang mga gawa-gawa nilang paratang," she adds.


August 14, 2020 - 11:53am

Sen. Leila de Lima files a motion for bail for the drug case against her and Ronnie Dayan before a Muntinlupa court. The detained senator argues that evidence presented by the prosecution was not strong.

"Without prejudice to her prior arguments questioning the validity of the Amended Information, Accused De Lima respectfully submits that she is  entitled to bail as a matter of right, and thus moves for bail ad cautelam," the motion read.

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