Ex-cop witness retracts testimony vs De Lima

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Ex-cop witness retracts testimony vs De Lima
This photo shows a picture of former Sen. Leila De Lima
The STAR / Michael Varcas, File

MANILA, Philippines — Another witness against former Sen. Leila De Lima in her last remaining drug case expressed his intention to withdraw his testimonies against the former senator, De Lima’s lawyer Boni Tacardon said.

In his letter dated December 18, retired police brigadier general Jerry Valeroso said that he wanted to withdraw his testimonies against the former senator to “set free" those "wrongfully charged” in the court.

“I planned to recant in early 2019 However, due to fearing for my life and the safety of my family and loved one, I lost the guts to do so,” Valeroso said in his letter.

This makes the former cop the 13th witness against De Lima to recant testimonies against the former senator and staunch drug war critic.

Valeroso addressed the letter to Judge Gener Gito of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court  (RTC) Branch 206.

It could be recalled that Valeroso earlier testified against the former senator who he said had witnessed De Lima attending the concert of Herbert Colanggo, a drug lord who was later convicted, within the confines of the New Bilibid Prison, during her time as justice secretary.

On December 13, the Muntinlupa RTC approved the transfer of the 11 inmate-witnesses on De Lima’s drug case to the New Billibid Prison in Muntinlupa from the Sablayan Prison Camp in Occidental Mindoro.

Other witnesses against De Lima who have previously recanted their testimonies against the former senator include the Billibid 7, former Bureau of Corrections chief Rafael Ragos, Kerwin Espinosa, Rodolfo Magleo and Nonilo Arile.

De Lima, who has been in detention since February 2017 due to her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade, has been granted temporary liberty after the RTC allowed the former senator to post bail.

In February 2021, De Lima secured her first acquittal when one of her three cases was dismissed by Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 205. Subsequently, on May 12, Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 cleared both the former senator and her aide Ronnie Dayan of the charges.

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