De Lima: Bilibid witnesses allowed to use cellphones

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2017 04:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 08 2017 07:40 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) – Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday said she has received information that New Bilibid Prison inmates who testified against her and are currently in detention at Camp Aguinaldo were allowed to use their cellphones.

"Some of those who testified against me, iyung mga drug convicts na na-trasnfer sa Armed Forces detention facility in Camp Aguinaldo, again I have A1 info and I have proof na nung binalik na nila dun, ni-restore nila yung privileges including the use of cellphones and other gadgets dahil pangako daw yun ni SOJ (Secretary of Justice) sa kanila when they agreed to testify against me," said De Lima.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre denied De Lima's accusation.

"I absolutely deny it. I made no such order. However, allow me to point out that Senator De Lima used the term 'restores', it only means that she is admitting that such privileges that she claims were restored were existing during her time as Secretary of Justice!" Aguirre said in a statement.

"She must be referring to her stint as Secretary of Justice when such privileges abounded and were tolerated in the NBP. She must have a lot of spare time to reminisce about her past. You can only reminisce about factual things, things that actually happened."

Several Bilibid inmates recently testified in a congressional hearing that De Lima received drug money from them in exchange for certain privileges. A portion of the alleged payoffs were supposedly used to fund De Lima’s senatorial bid.

The senator has denied all the allegations and linked all of these to her staunch opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs.