Ex-BuCor chief Ragos attends De Lima hearing, but unable to testify

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — A key witness in the drug case against detained former senator Leila de Lima showed up Friday in court but failed to take the stand after opposition from the prosecution.

Former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos was supposed to testify on his affidavit of recantation, but the government had filed a motion for reconsideration against the move, according to his counsel.

"Sinubukan namin i-presenta ngayon [si Ragos]. Kaso nag-file ng motion for reconsideration kagabi lang ang DOJ [Department of Justice]," said Ragos' lawyer Michael Christopher De Castro.

[Translation: We tried to present him today. But the DOJ filed a motion for reconsideration just last night.]

De Lima's lawyer, Filibon Tacardon, has yet to provide details about the motion, but said they were given five days to answer.

"Pero sa aming nakuha kanina, sinasabi ng panel of prosecutors ay hindi (siya) karapat-dapat i-recall bilang testigo," he noted.

[Translation: But from what we gathered earlier, the panel of prosecutors says he is not worthy to be recalled as witness.]

Ragos was one of the personalities who recanted accusations against De Lima who has been detained for allegedly allowing the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary when she was Justice secretary.

He said he was "forced" to execute affidavits implicating the former senator in the drug trade after receiving "threats of being detained."

Ragos' camp recently filed a motion to suppress and expunge evidence, particularly the affidavits he filed in 2016 and 2017, citing the absence of a "competent and independent counsel" during the process.