DETAINED Senator Leila M. de Lima on Monday asked the Department of Justice (DoJ) to “dig deeper” in their review of her drug cases, after four witnesses retracted their allegations relating to her supposed crime.
“In assessing or re-assessing the rest of the evidence against me, the SoJ (Secretary of Justice) or DoJ must go beyond a superficial review of the cold statements or affidavits of the witnesses and inquire into the very circumstances by which these were extracted,” the senator, one of the staunchest critics of outgoing President Rodrigo R. Duterte, said in a statement.
Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, a Duterte appointee, at the weekend said the review would only take a few days.
“The prosecution needs to reassess the strength of its overall evidence in the light of the retractions of certain witnesses,” he said. “If the prosecution believes that such recantations do not affect its case, then the prosecution will maintain its course.”
Ms. De Lima said DoJ should ensure “no injustice is done to anyone.”
The drug charges against Ms. De Lima started after she led a Senate investigation of Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs that has killed thousands.
In her previous post as head of the Commission on Human Rights, she also probed the assassination of suspected drug pushers by the so-called Davao Death Squad, allegedly upon the orders of Mr. Duterte when he was still the city mayor.
In her five years in detention, Ms. De Lima has repeatedly asserted her innocence, saying she was being prosecuted for criticizing Mr. Duterte’s drug war. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan