MANILA, Philippines — Two more witnesses against detained former senator Leila de Lima have retracted their testimony, saying they were troubled by their conscience.
“We recant our testimonies for several reasons with the primary purpose of helping both of you get released,” former police officers Rodolfo Magleo and Nonilo Arile said in a letter to de Lima and her co-defendant, former Bureau of Corrections. BuCor) Director Franklin Bucayo.
Both De Lima and Bucayo are in the Philippine National Police (PNP) Detention Center.
Magleo and Arile said they had planned to recant their testimonies as early as 2018, “but due to the impossibility of communication, we are unable to do so.”
“We are troubled by our conscience. We do not want you to be the victim of a mistrial,” the two said, promising to reveal relevant information about the remaining case against the former senator “in due course.”
“We assure you all that the last case will be dismissed,” they said.
READ: The letter from two former police officers addressed to the former senator @AttyLeiladeLima
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Magleo, a former police chief, was convicted of kidnapping. He testified that De Lima paid millions to provide special treatment to convicted Jaybee Sebastian, who allegedly controlled drug transactions in Bilibid.
Arile, who served as government asset, testified that he provided police with information on illegal drug transactions in the prison that led to the “Oplan Cronus” of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
Oplan Cronus was supposed to be an operation to launch a massive attack on Bilibid, but did not penetrate as it was blocked by the Lima.
The two were transferred to the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro.
They said that five more state witnesses “whom we had convinced” will also recant their testimonies.
They urged De Lima to send her emissaries.
“We assure you of our cooperation and commitment,” read the letter.
A copy of the letter was received and certified by the clerk of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court, Branch 206, which is handling De Lima’s remaining drug case.
Other witnesses against De Lima who recanted include former BuCor OIC Rafael Ragos and known drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa.