MANILA, Philippines — Seven more Bilibid inmates recanted their testimonies against former Senator Leila de Lima.
The handwritten letter, addressed to Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Judge Gener Gito dated Nov. 17, 2023 was signed by German L. Agojo, Tomas B. Doniñ, Jaime V. Patcho, Wu Tuan Yuan, Engelberto A. Durano, Jerry R. Pepino and Hans Anton Tan.
“We are aware that by doing this, we are risking our lives and the safety and security of our families. However, we firmly believe in the saying ‘the truth shall set you free,’” the inmates said.
“We would like to state that our participation as witnesses in the drug cases against former DOJ Secretary de Lima was vitiated by undue compulsion and influence, and thus, any judicial statement made by us is void of lack of consent,” they said adding that they want to “set the record straight.”
They said they faced “unimaginable threats to their lives” and their only option was to testify against de Lima. As proof, they mentioned of the 2016 stabbing incident incide the New Bilibid Prison.
They said there were several more attempts to their lives when they were transferred to the Marine Detention Facilities at Fort Bonifacio and at the Custodial Center in Camp Aguinaldo.
“We no longer desire to live our lives with the knowledge that we allowed ourselves to become pawns or instruments of injustice,” they said.
Meanwhile, de Lima filed a manifestation in court asking that it assert the truthfulness of the letter of seven inmates “in pursuit of truth and justice.”
She also asked the court to transfer the custody to an appropriate facility “to ensure the human rights of the signatories.
On October 16, two inmates recanted their testimonies against de Lima, they are former police officers Rodolfo Magleo and Nonilo Arile.
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has already secured Magleo and Arile.