MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Rafael Ragos, a former officer-in-charge for the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), has retracted his testimony that he handed drug money to Senator Leila de Lima in 2012.
Rafael Ragos apologized for testifying against De Lima in an interview and claimed she should be cleared of the drug accusations for which she has been detained since February 2017.
Ragos testified at a Senate hearing in 2016 that he delivered P5 million in earnings from the illegal drug trade within the New Bilibid Prison to De Lima’s house in Parañaque City in 2012, together with aide Jovencio Ablen Jr.
“I just want to clear something that has been on my chest since this has been concealed for so long,” Ragos said to a reporter.
“It doesn’t matter if these people would get mad at me, what matters here is the truth. Those who did wrongdoings would be mad. What do I care?” he added.
In an affidavit signed in Pasig City on April 30, 2022, Ragos recanted his confession.
“As far as I know and based on my professional relationship with Secretary de Lima, she is incapable of doing anything illegal, much less engage in the illegal drug trade or accept money from Bilibid inmates,” his affidavit stated.
A Muntinlupa court rejected one of De Lima’s two demurrers to evidence because of Ragos’ testimony.
Ragos’ retraction is crucial, according to De Lima’s spokesperson and lawyer Dino de Leon, because it was referenced by a Muntinlupa court as one of the reasons for refusing the senator’s demurrer to evidence, or petition to dismiss due to lack of evidence.
De Lima has been in custody since February 2017 for allegedly pocketing drug payoffs from imprisoned crime lords at the New Bilibid Prison while still serving as justice secretary.
She has characterized the charges as political punishment for her criticism of alleged human rights violations under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration and her resistance to his murderous drug war. – WhatALife!
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