Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II revealed on Thursday an alleged P100-million offer for high-profile inmates detained at Camp Aguinaldo to retract their testimonies on Senator Leila De Lima's drug links on or before February 25.
Aguirre said the inmates junked the offer on Wednesday, which was allegedly made by a former senator whom he did not identify.
The justice chief said the offer was repeated on Thursday morning through inmate Clarence Dongail, a former policeman, only to be rejected again.
Among those detained at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Custodial and Detention Center are convicts Herbert Colanggo, Engelberto Durano, Vicente Sy, Jojo Baligad, and Peter Co, who will be utilized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as witnesses against De Lima in court.
De Lima is facing drug trafficking cases before three Muntinlupa City courts, which hinge on the testimony of several detainees at the national penitentiary that the lawmaker accepted money from drug syndicates and facilitated a drug-trading operation while she was justice secretary.
The embattled senator has dismissed the cases as politically motivated which she said was a result of being openly critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has claimed more than 7,000 lives since he took power in June last year.
She also said only the Office of the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over the cases since she is an elected official.
The DOJ and the Office of the Solicitor General, however, rejected De Lima's position, citing a 2004 Supreme Court ruling and a provision of RA 9165 that provides regional trial courts have the jurisdiction to exclusively try and hear cases involving illegal drug activities.