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One other witness retracts accusations vs De Lima, says he was ‘coerced’

Rafael Ragos, former OIC of the Bureau of Corrections. (Picture by DEMPSEY REYES / Philippine Day by day Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — One other key witness has recanted his statements accusing Sen. Leila De Lima of involvement within the unlawful drug commerce on the New Bilibid Jail (NBP).

In his affidavit, notarized on April 30, 2022, in Pasig, Rafael Ragos, a former officer-in-charge for the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), alleged that then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had “coerced” him into testifying towards De Lima.

De Lima has been in jail since 2017 on drug prices, all of which she had denied.

Ragos made accusations towards De Lima on varied events beginning in 2016 on the Home justice committee listening to on the NBP unlawful drug commerce and through case hearings on the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Courtroom (RTC) Department 204.

“I simply wish to clear one thing that has been on my chest since this has been hid for thus lengthy,” Ragos advised a bunch of choose reporters, together with this one from the Inquirer, at a media convention over the weekend.

“It doesn’t matter if these folks would get mad at me, what issues right here is the reality. Those that did wrongdoings can be mad. What do I care?” he added.

Ragos gave the media convention days after self-confessed drug lord Roland “Kerwin” Espinosa retracted his allegations towards De Lima.

The federal government, nevertheless, downplayed Espinosa’s affidavit, saying that his recantation would haven’t any influence on De Lima’s instances filed within the Muntinlupa courts.

Unable to do something

In his affidavit, which is predicted to be filed, Ragos revealed that his allegations towards De Lima had been false. He stated that Aguirre, who had met him in a number of conferences, “interrogated and coerced” him to “admit one thing that didn’t occur.”

“I couldn’t do something again then,” Ragos, who had served as deputy intelligence director on the National Bureau of Investigation, stated. “If the secretary of justice himself is coercing you, what are you able to do? He can do extra, greater than I can do something.”

In September 2016, Ragos executed an affidavit whereby he said that he, together with former NBI agent Jovencio Ablen Jr., delivered a black bag containing P5 million to Ronnie Dayan, the senator’s former bodyguard, and De Lima on the latter’s residence. The cash allegedly got here from the NBP unlawful drug commerce.

That very same affidavit included his assertion that he delivered a plastic bag containing one other P5 million, additionally to Dayan and De Lima in the identical place.

He stated in his affidavit again then that he was instructed by an “unknown individual” ordering him to ship these baggage to De Lima’s residence and that the money got here from NBP inmate Wang Tuan Yuan alias Peter Co.

In 2016, he appeared earlier than the Home justice committee reiterating what he stated in his affidavit — that he had been instructed to ship the cash to Dayan, that he had adopted the caller’s instruction, and that the cash was speculated to help De Lima’s senatorial bid.

Ragos repeated these allegations earlier than the Muntinlupa courtroom in 2019.

However these had been all simply lies, in keeping with Ragos.

‘No fact in any respect’

“I now hereby declare and give away to the entire world that there isn’t any fact in any respect to any of those affidavits or Home and courtroom testimonies, or every other assertion made within the media or different investigatory proceedings, together with the Senate and the DOJ [Department of Justice], on the supply of monies to Sec. De Lima or Ronnie Dayan in no matter quantity,” Ragos disclosed in his affidavit, copies of which had been obtained by some reporters.

Ragos stated there was by no means any cash delivered to his quarters after which despatched to De Lima’s home. He added that, even when there was any money handed to him, he would have “instantly performed an investigation and filed a case towards the accountable people, as a substitute of following the instruction of an unknown caller, NBP inmate Hans Tan, to ship a package deal like an extraordinary messenger.”

Earlier than the Home justice panel in its probe on the NBP drug commerce, Ragos disclosed that Aguirre, by way of a sure Danny Yang, invited him to attend a gathering at a resort in Parañaque Metropolis. Amongst these current had been then-NBI Intelligence Director Dante Gierran and two attorneys from the Public Legal professional’s Workplace.

In keeping with Ragos, Aguirre “escorted me to a different room the place Ablen was, and so they confirmed me a duplicate of the assertion. I requested them: ‘Ano ‘yan? [What’s that?]’ Ablen responded: ‘Ginawa namin ni Esmeralda ‘yan. Might kopya siya n’yan.”

Asking Aguirre one other query, Ragos stated the previous justice chief advised him to additionally execute an affidavit that might “corroborate” Ablen’s assertion.

Ragos quoted Aguirre as saying: “[K]ung hindi, alam mo naman mangyayari.” [Translation: “If you don’t do it, you know what will happen.”]

Ragos additionally stated he was requested to “help and falsely corroborate” the affidavits, statements, and testimonies of Ablen, whom he stated additionally “falsely accused” him of being concerned in BuCor’s alleged unlawful actions.

Ragos was additionally pressured so as to add in his earlier affidavits that the cash delivered to De Lima and Dayan got here from Peter Co and to say that the money “was their share within the unlawful drug commerce.”

“There isn’t any fact to this assertion,” Ragos stated in his affidavit. “I solely said this with the intention to additional implicate Sec. De Lima and Ronnie Dayan within the unlawful drug commerce felony instances filed towards her, upon the directions of Sec. Aguirre.”

He defined that Aguirre referred to as him as much as meet in San Juan Metropolis, the place the latter advised him to provide you with a brand new assertion to incorporate Peter Co saying nobody would imagine him if he would declare to not know the place the cash he supposedly delivered to De Lima and Dayan got here from.

Ragos was additionally advised by Aguirre to execute one other affidavit to “state explicitly” that the delivered money was to fund De Lima’s senatorial candidacy within the 2013 midterm elections.

‘Compelled to cooperate’

Ragos was as soon as named as one of many respondents, together with De Lima and Dayan, within the case involving the NBP unlawful drug commerce on the Muntinlupa courtroom.

However he stated he was dropped and was “pressured to cooperate” with Aguirre and the general public prosecutors from the DOJ “by agreeing to ship all these false testimonies and signal false affidavits towards Sec. De Lima and Ronnie Dayan.”

“It’s very obvious, siya [Aguirre] mismo namu-mwersa [it was Aguirre himself who was forcing me],” Ragos advised the journalists when requested to make clear if Aguirre had issued threats towards him to testify towards De Lima.

“Kailangan niyang magpa-guwapo kay Presidente,” Ragos stated [Translation: “He has to make himself look good to the President.”]

He additionally named a sure undersecretary in his affidavit, whom Ragos emphasised to have “persistently pressured me to additional implicate and manufacture lies towards Senator De Lima…”

Ragos additionally named two NBI officers “who made my life tough throughout my detention.”

Apart from these personalities, he additionally stated one of many prosecutors assembly him suggested him: “Magazine testigo ka nang mabuti, minomonitor ka ng Malacañang. ” [Translation: “Testify properly. Malacañang is monitoring you.”]

Ragos clarified that there was no point out of President Rodrigo Duterte’s identify or any Malacañang officers when he was on condition that recommendation.

“This has been very onerous on me. Now’s the time you are feeling a bit of safer for you and your loved ones. So, this has to return out,” Ragos stated within the weekend interview.


Kerwin Espinosa recants drug trade accusations vs Sen. Leila de Lima


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