New case? De Lima is summoned by NBI for a drug investigation
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Leila de Lima has been served a subpoena by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for a drug-related probe connected to “the extrajudicial confession” of alleged Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.
According to the subpoena received on September 7, NBI agents will go inside Camp Crame on Friday, September 14, to ask De Lima to giver “her evidence..in a certain investigation conducted by this bureau.”
“There being no copy of the purported extrajudicial confession attached to the one-page Subpoena, I have no idea what allegations or accusations are – again – being made against me,” De Lima said in a dispatched message from her jail cell in Camp Crame on Monday, September 10.
De Lima added: “I can only assume that I am – again! – being falsely accused and being made to face trumped-up charges because this administration needs to cover up the rampant incompetence, abuse and corruption that have been the only true defining hallmarks of the Duterte administration.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he still has to check what case the subpoena pertains to. The NBI is under the Department of Justice (DOJ). The NBI’s director, deputy director, and public information officer have not responded to our query as of posting. (READ: From power to prison: How 2017 changed the life of De Lima, family)
What case is it? One thing for certain, the case is not related to the 3 counts of conspiracy to commit illegal drugs that are already on trial before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC).
“From what I know, any alleged involvement between me and Kerwin Espinosa has already been the subject of a preliminary investigation by the DOJ, which resulted in the dismissal of charges – as it very well should have been,” De Lima said.
Indeed, when the DOJ indicted De Lima on February 14, 2017, for the charges now pending before the Muntinlupa RTC, the justice department dismissed NPS No. XVI-INV-16L-00384 which was a drug complaint against De Lima, her bodyguard Ronnie Dayan, and Espinosa.
But in the same resolution, former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II directed the NBI “to investigate the illegal drug activities and related offenses committed by Rolan E. Espinosa aka Kerwin on the basis of his extrajudicial confession.”
Since then, there have been no public updates yet on this NBI investigation into Espinosa’s extrajudicial confession.
A source told Rappler, however, that the NBI is looking into the affidavit made by former NBI deputy director Rafael Ragos against De Lima.
Ragos was initially charged alongside De Lima at the Muntinlupa RTC, but the DOJ dropped him from the case in November 2017 to turn him into a state witness.
The source also said that Ragos recently met with lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to discuss his latest affidavit.
While it is not clear if De Lima is being treated as a person of interest in the NBI probe, the senator is nonetheless claiming it as being against her.
De Lima said: “Why solve the nation’s problems when they can, instead, attack the opposition? I say, bring it on!”
Espinosa himself is already facing charges in the Manila and Makati Regional Trial Courts related to the alleged drug network in his hometown in Leyte, and supposedly in the entire Central Visayas. – with reports from Nancy Carvajal/Rappler.com