MANILA—Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday claimed that former official of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino was asked by her detractors to testify against her in relation to her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her term as justice secretary.
This after the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday filed an illegal drugs case against Marcelino and his Chinese companion, Yan Yi Shou, at a Manila regional trial court, reversing an earlier resolution that dismissed charges against the two.
To recall, the DOJ accused Marcelino and Shou of violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002 for being in possession of some PHP380 million worth of illegal drugs.
De Lima claimed that a “common acquaintance” had forwarded to her messages from Marcelino dated July 19, 2016 and Sept. 5, 2016 which thanked the lady senator for her help when he was in prison and claiming that there were people after his life.
Marcelino also assured the lady senator that he would not testify against her.
“I can never thank you enough, hindi pa ako masyadong makagalaw dahil ang daming gustong kumatay sa akin. ‘Di ko pa rin mapuntahan si Senator LD kasi ginagawan kami ng mga fabricated stories (I cannot come out in the open because there are people after me. I cannot visit Senator LD because they are making fabricated stories about us),” de Lima said, reading the first text message.
“There are also some groups who are trying to convince me to speak against her but rest assured na hindi ako pagagamit sa kanila, not only because I really appreciated and forever indebted sa inyo ni ma’am but because the people deserve no less but the truth and justice (I won’t allow them to use me, not only because I really appreciated and am forever indebted to you and ma’am but because the people deserve no less but the truth and justice),” she continued.
De Lima said the more recent message dated Sept. 5 also forwarded to her by her source from Marcelino meanwhile read: “Pressures against me are mounting and they would even reopen my case but rest assured that I will never give in to them. Please tell Senator L to keep faith and be strong.”
She said that there were more text messages from her source coming from Marcelino but she has not yet been given clearance from them to disclose it to media.
“They have been accessing certain personalities, who they know were my former workmates. The question would be, why would they access Col. Marcelino?” she asked.
The former justice secretary claimed that not just Marcelino but many others whom she did not name were blackmailed or paid to testify against her.
“The central idea of all these testimonies were really to pin me down, although wala naman sa kanila is able to say na diretso sa akin binibigay ang mga pera na yan (although none of them was able to confirm that the money from illegal drugs was given directly to me),” de Lima said.
De Lima said that she has been receiving a lot of harassing, intimidating texts from trolls and fanatics of President Rodrigo Duterte after her mobile number and home address were publicly disclosed by a witness during the probe in the House of Representatives.
She further said that she is mulling several legal actions against them and her detractors.