Leila de Lima

Convicted drug lord ‘never met, never gave money’ to De Lima – senator’s lawyer

Michelle Abad
Under oath, drug convict Vicente Sy also contradicts his earlier statement that he contributed P500,000 to Leila de Lima’s senatorial campaign

A convicted drug lord and prosecution witness has testified before a Muntinlupa court that he never met nor gave money to Senator Leila de Lima, contradicting his earlier claim that he had contributed to her senatorial campaign.

De Lima’s lawyer, Boni Tacardon, said that Vicente Sy gave the testimony during the hearing on De Lima’s illegal trade case at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205, on Friday, November 6.

Si Vicente Sy ay tumestigo noon at sinabi niya na nag-ambag daw siya ng halagang P500,000 para daw sa kampanya ni Senator De Lima… Pero sa aming pagtatanong kanina, sinabi niya na kailanman ay hindi siya nagbigay ng pera kay Senator De Lima at sinabi rin niya na hindi niya kilala si De Lima,” said Tacardon.

(Vicente Sy testified in the past that he contributed P500,000 for Senator De Lima’s campaign…. But in our questioning earlier, he said he had never given money to Senator De Lima, and that also said he never met her.)

Sy was one of the 19 high-profile inmates, later dubbed the “Bilibid 19,” who lived lavishly in the national penitentiary before then justice secretary De Lima led a raid in the prison in 2014. (READ: De Lima: I exposed drug use in Bilibid, why probe me?)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) made Sy and 4 other drug personalities witnesses against De Lima in the senator’s 3 drug cases at the Muntinlupa court.

More witnesses with ‘no personal knowledge’

Lawyer Rigel Salvador of the Public Attorney’s Office also testified in the Friday hearing. 

Salvador notarized a sworn statement by the late drug convict Jaybee Sebastian, implicating De Lima in the drug trade. Around a week before Sebastian died of COVID-19 in July, he added more to his testimony against De Lima.

According to Tacardon, Salvador said he had no personal knowledge of De Lima’s involvement in the Bilibid drug trade. Tacardon said Salvador only notarized Sebastian’s statement.

Pinatotoo niya na hindi niya alam ang laman nito at hindi niya alam kung lahat ng nakasaad dito ay totoo. Ang tanging sinabi niya ay nakita niya na pinirmahan ito ni Jaybee sa harapan niya at ang salaysay na ‘yun ay malaya daw na ginawa ni Jaybee,” said Tacardon.

(He set things straight that he didn’t know the content of the affidavit and he didn’t know if everything written there was true. He only said he saw Jaybee sign it in front of him, and that Jaybee wrote the statement freely.)

Bureau of Corrections officer Dennis Alfonso also said he had no personal knowledge of De Lima’s involvement in an incident with a cellphone, laptop bag, and other contraband allegedly belonging to drug lord Peter Co.

De Lima has been detained at a facility in Camp Crame since to the February 2017, less than a week after the DOJ filed charges against her for allegedly receiving drug money from convicts back when she was justice secretary.

The opposition senator has denied the allegations, denouncing them as part of political persecution of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte because of her criticism of his controversial drug war.

De Lima has sought to post bail at least twice. – Rappler.com

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers overseas Filipinos, the rights of women and children, and local governments.