DoJ belittles Espinosa retraction

Department of Justice

THE retraction of self-confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa's statement about his alleged transactions with Sen. Leila de Lima will not affect, in any way, the pending drug cases against her before the courts, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ said that statements of Espinosa “were never utilized” and “will not be used” by the prosecution as evidence in the two pending drug cases against de Lima filed before the branches of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Muntinlupa City.

The DoJ's Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) also pointed out that counter-affidavit with retraction of statements by Espinosa was executed only on April 28, 2022, or more than five years after his testimony was given before the Senate in 2016 and other subsequent affidavits executed in 2017.

“The counter-affidavit with retraction of statements by respondent Espinosa bears no weight,” the DoJ statement read.

In Criminal Case 17-165, de Lima's co-accused was her former driver and alleged lover Ronnie Dayan. It is pending before RTC Branch 204.

In this case, the OPG said that the prosecution has finished presenting its evidence without utilizing Espinosa as a witness because his statements/affidavit, which he recanted, were not material to the case.

“Mr. Espinosa was not listed as a witness for the prosecution in the pre-trial order of the Court,” it added. Dayan was presented in court on April 29, 2022.

On the other hand, Criminal Case 17-167 entitled “People of the Philippines vs Leila M. De Lima, Franklin Bucayu, Wilfedo Elli, Jaybee Sebastian, Ronnie Dayan, Joenel Tan Sanchez and Jose Adrian Tiamson Dera” is with the RTC Branch 256.

According to the OPG, the prosecution is set to present its last three witnesses on May 16, 2022

“Again, the prosecution will not utilize Mr. Rolan 'Kerwin' Espinosa as a witness in this case because his 10 statements/affidavit which he recanted are immaterial to the prosecution's case,” the OPG said.

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