Lawyer: Vice mayor urged convict to testify vs De Lima Featured

Lawyer: Vice mayor urged convict to testify vs De Lima

INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

They say love moves mountains.

That was what moved Herbert Colanggo to testify against Sen. Leila de Lima, now detained on drug charges.

Colanggo, a convicted bank robber sentenced to life imprisonment, allegedly operated a drug distribution syndicate from New Bilibid Prison (NBP).


A recording artist who aspired to follow the foot prints of Michael Jackson, Colanggo is the acknowledged lover of Vice Mayor Nova Echaves, 36, whose father, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., 60, was killed in a police raid on Sunday in which 14 others were also killed.

According to congressional testimony, Colanggo had held concerts at NBP, which he turned on such occasions into a “Little Las Vegas.”

Mayor Parojinog had been accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of being a drug lord.

Second thoughts

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday following the inquest of Echaves and her brother, Reynaldo Jr., lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said Colanggo was having second thoughts about testifying against De Lima, accused of receiving protection bribes from convicts running a multibillion-peso drug distribution system from NBP while she was the justice secretary.

“He was of course thinking of the repercussions in testifying against Senator De Lima. He was also thinking he might incriminate himself,” Topacio said.

The lawyer quoted Echaves as telling him: “Tell them. Tell them the truth. Why should you be afraid? Tell them who Senator De Lima is. The world needs to know who Senator De Lima is.”

Asked what made Colanggo go by Echaves’ wish, Topacio said: “He loves Nova… They say love can move mountains.”


Duterte last year revealed the vice mayor’s relationship with Colanggo.

Topacio said Colanggo and 18 other drug convicts, who were transferred to the detention center in Camp Aguinaldo from NBP, were standing by their testimony against De Lima.

“I personally spoke with them last week… None of them is planning to recant,” Topacio said.

 

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