Ragos shows up at De Lima hearing, but unable to reaffirm recantation


MANILA, Philippines — Rafael Ragos, one of the government’s key witnesses against former Sen. Leila de Lima in a drug case against her, showed up Friday in court but was unable to reaffirm his recantation as the prosecution opposed his taking the witness stand.

Government lawyers filed an appeal Thursday night before the Muntinlupa court to reconsider its decision to allow the former Bureau of Corrections official  to testify on his recantation, according to the legal teams of Ragos and De Lima.

“Based on what we received earlier, the panel of prosecutors are saying that he is not worthy to be recalled as a witness,” Filibon Tacardon, De Lima’s lawyer, told reporters in Filipino.

The court gave De Lima five days to comment on the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration.

Ragos’ lawyer moved to suppress and expunge all his previous affidavits in light of his recantation, but this was not acted on by the court due to the prosecution’s opposition to him taking the witness stand.

This development has left Ragos, the former officer-in-charge at the Bureau of Corrections, fearing for his security, his lawyer Michael Christopher De Castro said.

“For sure, he has a lot of security concerns and a lot of fears,” Castro told reporters in Filipino.

In one of the two remaining cases, Ragos stands as the key witness against De Lima and her former aide Ronnie Dayan.

When De Lima filed a demurrer to evidence, which challenges sufficiency of prosecution evidence, Presiding Judge Liezel Aquiatan dismissed her motion stating that: “From the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, it is clear that the money was collected as contributions to the fund raising of accused De Lima for her campaign as senator.”

In a ruling in February 2021, the court said De Lima and Dayan must explain the P10 million they received — the allegation that Ragos recanted. — Xave Gregorio with reports from Kristine Joy Patag




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