Leila de Lima

After witnesses retracted allegations, De Lima again asks court to junk case

Jairo Bolledo

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After witnesses retracted allegations, De Lima again asks court to junk case

FREED. In this file photo, supporters tie blue ribbons and raise their palms as they greet detained former justice secretary and senator Leila De Lima who is attending to a drug case filed against her at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial court on January 27, 2023.


Former senator Leila de Lima also asks the court to grant her petition for bail

MANILA, Philippines – Detained former senator Leila de Lima has asked the court once again to drop the drug-related case against her, following the key witnesses’ retraction of accusations against her.

In a petition publicized on Friday, February 24, De Lima’s camp filed a supplemental omnibus motion urging the court to grant her immediate release and/ or grant their petition for bail. De Lima’s ex-aide, Ronnie Dayan, was also named petitioner in the motion filed before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204.

“WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed that this Honorable Court grant the instant Omnibus Motion and issue an Order: 1. Dismissing the instant case for lack of evidence; 2. Directing the immediate release of accused Leila M. de Lima and Ronnie Palisoc Dayan; or 3. Granting accused De Lima and Dayan their right to bail,” the motion read.

De Lima is facing two drug-related charges – as of 2023 – after she was acquitted in one of the charges. The cases against the opposition leader were filed under former president Rodrigo Duterte, after De Lima was accused of enabling drug trade in New Bilibid Prison to fund her 2016 senatorial campaign. February 24 also marked De Lima’s sixth year in detention.

Key witnesses like former Bureau of Corrections officer in charge Rafael Ragos and self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa have already retracted their accusations against De Lima. Espinosa said he was coerced, while Ragos revealed that former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II forced him to lie against De Lima.


In their petition, the De Lima camp reiterated that they already filed an Omnibus Motion for Outright Dismissal; Immediate Release; and/or Bail Ad Cautela on May 6, 2022 after Ragos retracted his statements. On February 10, lawyer Boni Tacardon, one of De Lima’s lawyers, said they would file another motion for bail.

Tacardon explained that in their first application for bail, the judge previously said there was evidence against De Lima – Ragos’ testimony. Since the former BuCor official already recanted his statements, there would no longer be evidence against De Lima, especially if the court accepts the recantation.

In addition, De Lima’s case should be dismissed following Ragos’ recantation, her camp also argued.

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“Accused De Lima must now be spared from further inconvenience, expense, pain, anxiety and the ignominy of prolonged trial proceedings through outright dismissal of the instant case. She has suffered enough, not the least of all barely surviving a hostage-taking incident that almost cost her her life.”

They added that at the very least, the former lawmaker should be granted bail: “At the very least, herein Accused should be granted her constitutional right to bail in light of the retraction of the only testimony offered by the Prosecution that supposedly directly links her to the offense charged.”

Current Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla had already stated he will not oppose if the De Lima camp will file petition for bail or writ of habeas corpus for temporary freedom. The High Court’s ruling on Gigi Reyes, former aid of Juan Ponce Enrile, paved the way for detainees to seek temporary freedom through the extraordinary writ. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.