The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed bribery charges against former Senator Leila M. de Lima, who has been in jail since Feb. 2017 for drug trafficking.
Also cleared was Ronnie Dayan, her former aide.
In a nine-page resolution dated Jan. 5 and made public on Tuesday, the Ombudsman said it found no probable cause to indict the former lawmaker for bribery.
“The inconsistencies in the testimonies of the complainant’s witnesses can’t be brushed aside as trivial or inconsequential,” according to the decision written by Ombudsman prosecutor Daniel Von Evan O. Panelo.
Ombudsman investigators earlier filed a complaint against the former senator and her aide accusing them of conspiracy to extort money from self-proclaimed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.
“The testimonies the complainant had presented failed to provide a clear, accurate and consistent narration of facts crucial in determining the elements of direct bribery and indirect bribery,” he added.
Mr. Espinosa earlier testified that Ms. de Lima through her aide received P8 million in bribe money that she allegedly used to fund her 2016 senatorial run.
At least four witnesses have taken back their allegations of Ms. de Lima’s involvement in the illegal drug trade. — John Victor D. Ordoñez