JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday said Marine Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinand Marcelino could be called to testify in the drug charges filed against detained Senator Leila de Lima.
In an interview, Aguirre said Marcelino, a former anti-narcotics official, could confirm on the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when De Lima was justice secretary.
If tapped as a witness, he said Marcelino might also disclosed the details of his meeting with de Lima when the latter visited him at the Philippine National Police custodial center where he was detained for illegal drug charges.
Aguirre, however, said that he is unsure if Marcelino will be used as a witness of the prosecution.
"I don't know kung gagamitin siya, but kung gagamitin siya yun nakikita ko [na itetestify niya], yung visit niya (De Lima), yung conversation niya with Marcelino when she visited him at why was PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) left out sa pag galugad nung NBP at sinolo na lang ng Bucor at NBI (National Bureau of Investigation)," Aguirre said.
Marcelino, in an affidavit dated September 25, 2016 disclosed before the House committee on justice, which was then probing the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the state penitentiary, that he and de Lima discussed in a meeting the previous raid in Tarlac wherein P3 billion worth of shabu and paraphernalia were seized.
The House of Representatives was not able to hear the full account of Marcelino as they claimed that his testimony was not relevant to the inquiry.
Aguirre meanwhile assured the public the dropping of Marcelino's drug charges will not be in exchange for his testimony against the senator.
"Titignan ko [kung pwede siya maging witness] yung investigation naman na ginawa namin sa kaso niya, it is not in relation to his being made a witness," he said.
The DOJ on Thursday withdrew the charges for drug possession filed against Marcelino and his Chinese companion, Yan Yi Shou, in connection with a raid in Sta. Cruz Manila that yielded more than P380 million worth of illegal drugs and paraphernalia.
It upheld its May 2016 ruling that junked the drug charges against the two for lack of evidence and reiterated that the two were in a legitimate operation when they were seen by narcotics agents at clandestine shabu laboratory in Sta. Cruz, Manila in January 2016. (SunStar Philippines)