De Lima wants court to verify 7 inmates' claim they were coerced to testify against her

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) — Former senator Leila de Lima asked the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court to summon seven prisoners from the Sablayan penal farm to verify their claims that they were threatened into testifying against her.

In her manifestation with urgent motion filed Tuesday, De Lima also requested the Muntinlupa court to order the immediate transfer of custody of German Agojo, Tomas Donina, Jaime Patcho, Wu Tuan Yuan (aka Peter Co), Engelberto Durano, Jerry Pepino, and Hans Anton Tan for their safety and security.

De Lima further sought the court's confirmation of the contents of a letter she received on Monday, where the inmates expressed that they were coerced to participate as witnesses in the drug cases against the former lawmaker.

"[W]e would like to state that our participation as witnesses in the drug cases against former DOJ Secretary De Lima was vitiated by undue compulsion and influence, and thus, any judicial statement made by us, is void for lack of consent," read the inmates' letter addressed to Muntinlupa Judge Gener Gito.

They said they also faced "unimaginable threats" to their lives and that "the only choice we had then was to testify against the good senator."

The inmates cited a series of attempts on their and their family's lives as they appealed to be transferred out of the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro.

"In view, there of, we would like to be given the opportunity to set the record straight and correct our mistakes by stating the unadulterated truth this time," they said.

De Lima further requested the court to confirm with the seven inmates the "authenticity and truthfulness" of their claims.

They were among the 10 New Bilibid detainees who testified against De Lima and were transferred to Sablayan in late July. The Department of Justice assured that there was nothing sinister about the confidential transfer.