After Ragos coercion claim, De Lima to file supplemental rap vs Aguirre

After Ragos coercion claim, De Lima to file supplemental rap vs Aguirre
Detained Sen. Leila M. de Lima attends the continuation of trial on the third drug case filed against her at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 256 on Feb. 16, 2021.
Released / Sen. Leila De Lima's office

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima on Thursday said she will file a supplemental complaint against former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, whom a prosecution witness has accused of coercion to give false testimony against her.

“Because of [Rafael] Ragos’ recent affidavit pointing to Aguirre as the mastermind behind his false testimony against me, I will file a supplement to the Complaint I filed against Aguirre with the Ombudsman in 2017,” de Lima said in a dispatch on Thursday.

“This complaint includes a criminal complaint for offering false testimony, use of falsified documents, and grave coercion. Ragos’ affidavit will serve as strong evidence, together with other documents I already submitted to the Ombudsman, that Aguirre committed these criminal offenses against me when he ordered the preparation and filing of fabricated drug charges against me,” the senator continued.

Ragos is a key witness in the DOJ’s case against De Lima. He testified that he gave two tranches of P5 million each to De Lima’s aide, Ronnie Dayan—but he recanted this in his affidavit on April 30.

De Lima made the statement after Aguirre, on Wednesday, denied the contents of Ragos’ affidavit where he accused the former DOJ chief of threatening him into corroborating another witness’ testimony to pin down de Lima on drug charges.

Aguirre, in a statement, said he was surprised at Ragos’ testimony. “It is farthest from the truth, I was never involved in any efforts to coerce him,” he added.

The former justice secretary, under whose term the charges against de Lima were brought to court, also questioned the timing of Ragos’ retraction as it is the elections season where De Lima is running as a re-electionist.

But de Lima also challenged Aguirre’s questioning of Ragos’ motive and timing is a “flimsy defense.”

“Ragos has always been under the wing of the DOJ, even retaining his position as NBI deputy director for the good part of the trial, at least until he finishes his cross-examination,” she said.

De Lima pointed out that she had been in detention at Camp Crame. “What influence can I possibly have on Ragos to be able to extract his recantation, moreso time its execution in time for the elections?”

“I say it again — Aguirre is a certified liar. He’s an embarrassment to the whole justice system,” the senator added.  — Kristine Joy Patag

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