SENATOR Leila de Lima yesterday denied allegations that she had a hand in the death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
Over the weekend, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said De Lima was included in Espinosa’s affidavit naming illegal drug coddlers in the country.
“They are now linking me to the death of Mayor Espinosa. Invent pa more. This is another fabrication just like the fabricated testimonies of convicts who testified against me before the House inquiry,” De Lima said in an interview prior to her filing of a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas data against President Duterte before the Supreme Court.
“Kelangan ko ng umaksyon para labanan lahat ng kabaliwan na ginagawa nila,” she added.
De Lima said the habeas petition filed at the Supreme Court is only the first of legal actions she will take against President Duterte and his men.
“My legal team is preparing other legal actions to be filed. Hindi advisable na i-announce because we will be telegraphing our moves,” De Lima said.
Inmates fearing for their lives
Meanwhile, the killing of Espinosa has sent a shiver down the spine of other high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).
In a statement, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said some of his clients who executed sworn affidavits and testified before the House of Representatives Justice Committee hearings on the Bilibid drug trade have expressed concern over their safety following Espinosa’s killing while detained at the Baybay city jail in Leyte.
“They said that, now more than ever, they fear for their lives and those of their kin,” Topacio said
Topacio noted that only last Thursday he visited Peter Co and Vicente Sy and the two insisted on their desire to be transferred to a more secure facility other than Building 14 after their recuperation.
Co and Sy were among those who were severely injured in a stabbing attack in a melee at Building 14 of the NBP. Another inmate, Tony Co, died.
Topacio said he had sent a formal letter to the Bureau of Corrections repeating their request; unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears as his clients were still transferred to Building 14.
“The killing of Mayor Espinosa struck a raw nerve on my clients in view of the fact that, since the start of the process wherein they volunteered to be witnesses, it has been their perception – which I share – that the Bureau of Corrections has taken a less than prudent attention towards their safety and well-being,” Topacio said.