Inmates tortured, pressured to testify against De Lima?

MANILA, Philippines - Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, the legal counsel of the high profile inmates who testified against Senator Leila De Lima on Tuesday, September 20, has denied allegations that his clients were pressured and tortured to give testimonies in the House probe on drug use at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Inmates tortured, pressured to testify against De Lima?
Do you think the high profile inmates who testified against Sen. De Lima were pressured and tortured? PHOTO CREDIT: YouTube/Duterte Official and Facebook/ Leila De Lima
De Lima, who is accused of receiving drug money and coddling drug lords allowing the proliferation of illegal drugs in the NBP, accused the Duterte administration of pressuring the witnesses in an attempt to create allegations against her. The female senator made the claims during her privilege speech a day after she was ousted as the chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights.

“Sino naman po ang mga testigo nila? Mga preso sa Bilibid, mga convicted criminals, DOJ or NBI officials and others who have an ax to grind against me, or those who have skeletons in their closet and are now being pressured to do Malacanang’s bidding at the risk of being charged themselves,” De Lima stated in her privilege speech.

Topacio in a statement emphasized that his clients “have neither been threatened, cajoled, tortured nor intimidated, nor have they been subjected to torture, either physical or psychological.”

Topacio is the lawyer for inmates Jerry Pepino, Joel Capones, German Agojo and Noel Martinez. He also serves as the co-counsel for Herbert Colangco.

According to Topacio, De Lima can personally visit his clients to confront them and see for herself if they are telling the truth. He added that his clients were transferred to a secure detention facilities, away from De Lima’s henchman JayBee Sebastian.

“Their testimonies have also been taken under the supervision of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines with Col. Besana present, the Public Attorney’s office with its Chief, Persy Rueda-Acosta in attendance, the National Bureau of Investigation and their private lawyers all physically present, and all proceedings duly videotaped,” Topacio said.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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