De Lima faces new adversary

MARINE Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinand Marcelino may be included as a witness against Senator Leila de Lima who has been charged with drug trafficking cases before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Courts, an official said Friday.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Marcelino, who was recently released from detention after the Justice department withdrew the drug case filed against him and his Chinese companion Yan Yi Shou, might be tapped as government witness against De Lima.

“Our plan is to use him as an additional witness,” Aguirre said.

Marcelino, who was freed from military detention in Camp Aguinaldo on Friday, griped at his Philippine Military Academy upperclassmen whom he described as instrumental in putting him in jail.

He said his upperclassmen had apparently used him solely to improve their careers in government.

Marcelino’s lawyer, Persida Rueda Acosta, earlier said he was willing to testify against De Lima.

“He said he could testify anytime, but we don’t know yet what he will testify on,” Acosta said. “Let’s just wait what will happen if the government will utilize him in the Bilibid drug case.”

De Lima has been charged with three counts of violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in three branches of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court.

FACING THE MUSIC. Senator Leila de Lima is escorted by a contingent of the Philippine National Police to attend the hearing of her case at the sala of Justice Ma. Ludmila de Pio Lim of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch. Lino Santos

Aguirre said Marcelino could testify about his conversation with De Lima when she visited him in detention as well as about why the police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency had been left out in the raid conducted at the New Bilibid Prison.

In his affidavit submitted to Congress last year, Marcelino claimed that De Lima visited him while he was detained at the PNP Custodial Center and discussed the dismantling of the biggest shabu laboratory in the country.

He said De Lima told him that the President, referring to President Benigno Aguino III, was not involved in the operation of the shabu laboratory.

“Why is the largest clandestine shabu laboratory established right in the home province of then President Benigno Aquino III, which is also the province where PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac once served as provincial director of the PNP?” Marcelino said.

“Is it possible that the syndicates had already penetrated the highest political leadership of the country?” With Francisco Tuyay