A FOURTH witness has taken back his allegations against detained Senator Leila M. de Lima, who has been imprisoned since Feb. 2017 on drug trafficking charges.
In a four-page affidavit dated May 24 and sent to reporters on Wednesday, Marcelo L. Adorco said that he was coerced into implicating the senator, one of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s most outspoken critics, and other individuals in the illegal drug trade.
“The truth is I was only forced to sign my previous affidavit which accused these people of being involved in illegal drugs because I feared for my life and safety,” according to a copy of his statement.
He claimed that a former high-ranking police officer had forced him to sign affidavits in 2016 and 2017, which said that Ms. De Lima and self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa met up in Baguio City.
“The affidavit was written by a police officer in a police station in Albuera, Leyte, by the orders of the former chief of the Albuera police,” Mr. Adorco said.
Three other witnesses have earlier retracted their testimonies implicating Ms. De Lima in the illegal drug trade. They all claimed to have been coerced by government officials into falsely accusing her.
Another witness, Joel Capones, testified on Monday during Ms. De Lima’s bail hearing in a Muntinlupa court that he did not have knowledge of drug money worth P1.4 million that was allegedly pocketed by her.
Last week, a Muntinlupa court dismissed a contempt case against the senator and her lawyer.
The incoming Department of Justice secretary, Jesus Crispin C. Remulla, said last week that he is open to reviewing the case against the senator. He noted that courts generally frown upon retractions. — John Victor D. Ordoñez