MANILA – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday said it will leave to the court decision in connection with alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa's statement recanting his claims against detained Senator Leila de Lima in the Illegal drugs trade activities inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) during her term as secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

"Epinosa's retraction of his statements pertinent to cases lodged against Sen. Leila De Lima. The PDEA will defer to the decision of the courts as to the implication of this recantation," PDEA said in a media statement.

"Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento had previously given his opinion that Espinosa's retraction has no bearing on the cases against Sen. De Lima, and although PDEA was not involved in the filing of cases against either Kerwin Espinosa or Sen. De Lima, the agency is dispassionately interested in uncovering the truth and prosecuting those involved in the illegal drugs," it added.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Friday it still needs to see a copy of Espinosa's statement recanting his claims against detained De Lima in the Illegal drugs trade activities inside the NBP.

“The PNP has yet to receive a copy of the supposed counter-affidavit of Mr. Kerwin Espinosa,” PNP Public Information Chief Brig. Gen. Roderick Alba said.

“Nevertheless, if deemed necessary, handa naman kaming gumawa ng sariling imbestigasyon sa ngalan ng hustisya (we are ready to conduct our own investigation in the name of justice),” he said.

Espinosa made the retraction following the filing of drug trafficking charges against him by the National Bureau of Investigation before the DOJ-National Prosecution Office (DOJ-NPS ) last March 2022 after he was removed from the Witness Protection Program due to several infractions. (PNA)