Quezon City, Philippines – Following the recent retraction of statements of “state witnesses” Kerwin Espinosa and ex-BuCor Chief Rafael Ragos alleging Senator Leila de Lima of drug links, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines’ General Secretary, Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza called Sen. De Lima’s 5-year incarceration “a travesty”. “The senator languished in jail for years now and we see here how power plays were made. This is such a travesty, a mockery of our legal and democratic institutions. She must be freed immediately,” Bishop Marigza said.
In the past days, Espinosa and Ragos recanted their statements and revealed that there was coercion and threats that were made for them to testify against Senator De Lima. “Two major witnesses recanting their statements and revealing the pressure, intimidation and threat they experienced from no less than a cabinet member, shows that something is very wrong here. This an outright injustice.” Bishop Marigza lamented.
Over the week, several groups and persons have registered that Senator De Lima should be immediately released from the PNP Custodial Center where she is currently detained. “We are echoing the clarion call to immediately release Sen. Leila De Lima. She is being held on baseless accusations and obviously on trumped-up charges.
The NCCP is the largest aggrupation of mainline Protestant and non-Roman Catholic churches in the Philippines.