Leila de Lima

13th witness to recant in De Lima’s remaining drug case

Jairo Bolledo

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13th witness to recant in De Lima’s remaining drug case

FREED. Former senator Leila de Lima waves to the waiting media outside her cell at the PNP Custodial Jail in Camp Crame, after she was granted bail by a Muntinlupa Trial Court on November 13, 2023.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

Retired police brigadier general Jerry Valeroso is the latest witness to recant after the seven convicts who retracted their allegations against De Lima in November

MANILA, Philippines – Another witness is set to retract his statements against former senator Leila de Lima, Rappler learned on Wednesday, December 20.

In his letter dated December 18, retired police brigadier general Jerry Valeroso told Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 206 Presiding Judge Gener Gito his intent to recant. He said he will retract his statements for the freedom of all those “wrongfully charged” in the court.

He added that he will also retract his statements to reveal that the allegations against the accused, including De Lima, were “pure hearsay and full of lies.”

“Because I was disturbed by my conscience, I planned to recant in early 2019. However, due to fearing for my life and the safety of my family and loved ones, I lost the guts to do so,” Valeroso said in his letter.

After six years, eight months, and 21 days in prison, De Lima was released from her detention facility at the Philippine National Police custodial center on November 13. She was able to gain temporary freedom after Presiding Judge Gito granted her bail, citing the weak allegations against the former senator.

Meanwhile, Valeroso was the latest witness to recant. In November, seven more convicts, who served as witnesses, have recanted their testimonies. The convicts explained they “faced unimaginable threats on their lives” so they only retracted their statements later on.

The first 12 to recant, in chronological order, were: Kerwin Espinosa, former corrections officer-in-charge and star witness Rafael Ragos, De Lima’s former bodyguard Ronnie Dayan, two convicts in October, and the seven convicts in November. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

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