De Lima calls ex-Justice Secretary Aguirre a ‘certified liar’


Sen. Leila de Lima and former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS)

MANILA, Philippines —  “Aguirre is a certified liar,” Sen. Leila de Lima said on Twitter on Wednesday, referring to Vitaliano Aguirre II, who was the justice secretary when she was jailed in 2017 on drug charges. “I hope he realizes the damage he has done to the DOJ [Deparment of Justice] as an institution.”

That was De Lima’s reaction to Aguirre’s denial that he had “coerced” Rafael Ragos, a former officer in charge of the Bureau of Corrections, into testifying against her.

Ragos made a public retraction over the weekend of all his statements implicating De Lima in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison. He said he only did that because he had been “coerced” by Aguirre.

Aguirre then denied it, downplaying the retraction, contained in a notarized affidavit, as a “worthless piece of paper.”

He also questioned the motive for the retraction, saying it was because De Lima was running for reelection in the May 9 polls.

Ragos was the second to recant his testimony against De Lima following the retraction of self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, who claimed the police coerced him into testifying against the senator, herself a former justice secretary.

Espinosa was placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) as a witness against de Lima and removed from the program in February this year.

De Lima then stated in a follow-up tweet on Wednesday that “the truth has no expiration date.”

The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 earlier granted De Lima’s demurrer to evidence in Case Number 17-166, marking her acquittal in one of the three cases, which she called a “moral victory.”

A demurrer to evidence is, in effect, saying that the evidence against the accused is insufficient to sustain the case.

The senator has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center since Feb. 24, 2017.

RELATED STORIES

Aguirre denies coercing Ragos to indict De Lima in Bilibid drug trade

De Lima’s counsel hopes other ‘coerced witnesses’ will ‘come out and confess’

‘Greatest frame-up’ unraveling – De Lima lawyer

ATM

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