Justice Velasco refutes de Lima’s claim he pushed for drug lord’s acquittal


MANILA – Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. vehemently denied the allegation of Senator Leila de Lima that he “pushed for the acquittal of convicted drug lord German Agojo when the Supreme Court division deliberated on the case in 2009.”

The High Court affirmed the conviction of Agojo. Justice Velasco did not file any dissent to the ponencia of now retired Justice Dante O. Tinga nor verbally move for Agojo’s acquittal. Justice Tinga clarified that the deliberation on the Agojo case was very “uneventful.”

According to a statement released to media by the SC, Justice Velasco does not know nor has met Agojo and has no relationship whatsoever with the alleged drug lord.

Moreover, the claim of Senator De Lima is anchored on a news report written by Marites Vitug, who was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Manila by Justice Velasco with libel for her false and libelous remarks against the latter.

Out of compassion, Justice Velasco later decided to drop the charges, the statement said.

The Justice’s camp said the attempt of Senator De Lima to inhibit Justice Velasco could simply be an attempt on her part to gain an advantage in connection with her pending case before the Supreme Court involving illegal drug trade and/or conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade.

In filing last Thursday with the SC the motion to have Velasco recuse himself from her cases pendinng before the high tribunal, de Lima had recalled that Agojo was one of those used as witnesses against her to pin her down on allegations she abetted the prison drug trade when she was Secretary of Justice in the previous administration.

‘Conflict of interest’: De Lima petitions SC to have Justice Velasco recused from her case