Bilibid detainee testifies he has no knowledge of De Lima’s involvement in drug trade

AdChoiceTV News — A New Bilibid Prison detainee who took the witness stand in Senator Leila De Lima’s illegal drug case has testified he had no personal knowledge of narcotics transactions involving the latter during her term as Justice Secretary.

Prosecution witness Noel Martinez, who was convicted for kidnapping-for-ransom, was cross-examined during Tuesday’s hearing at the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 256.

“Para sa amin ho, hihina yung claim ng prosecution na may alam siya (Martinez) sa drug trading,” De Lima’s counsel Rolly Peoro told the media, adding the hearing gave hope the case filed against De Lima for conspiracy to commit drug trading would be junked

[Translation: For us, this would weaken the prosecution’s claim that he had knowledge about the drug trading.]

“Nilinaw niya na kahit kaninong akusado—mula kay Senator De Lima, kay General [Franklin] Bucayu, kay Joenel Sanchez, kay Ronnie Dayan—wala siyang mga personal na transaction. Wala silang personal transaction, lalo na sa droga,” Peoro added, noting that Martinez had only heard of “referrals” from outside the Bilibid premises.

[Translation: He also clarified that all the accused — from Senator Leila de Lima, to General Bucayu, Joenel Sanchez, and Ronnie Dayan — he had no personal transaction. There was no personal transaction, especially on drugs.]

Martinez said the ones involved in the drug trading are already dead, including top Cebu drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz who was previously killed in an operation in Las Piñasand Jaybee Sebastian who succumbed to COVID-19 last year, Peoro said.

De Lima was also at the hearing, the first time she was able to step out of her detention facility at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in almost a year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The detained senator was also granted a 24-hour medical furlough so she can undergo examinations.

De Lima has been detained since 2017, following allegations that she allowed the proliferation of drugs inside New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa while she was Justice Secretary in exchange for campaign funds for her senatorial bid in 2016.

A staunch critic of the Duterte administration, De Lima has repeatedly denied involvement in the illegal drug trade. She said she is a victim of political persecution, a claim repeatedly dismissed by Malacañang. — via Albert Rovic Tan

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