DOJ indicts De Lima over NBP illegal drug trade

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 17 2017 09:20 PM | Updated as of Feb 17 2017 09:51 PM

Senator Leila de Lima File Photo

(4TH UPDATE) Three criminal complaints have been filed at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court against former justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima in connection with her alleged involvement in the New Bilibid Prison illegal drug trade.

De Lima was indicted for violating section 5 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act pertaining to the sale, administration, dispensation, distribution, and transportation of dangerous drugs.

She also faces charges for violations of section 28 of the law, which covers criminal liability of government officials and employees as an aggravating circumstance.

Jusice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said the filing of the non-bailable cases had no political color.

Indicted along with De Lima are her former driver-bodyguard and estranged lover Ronnie Dayan, former Bureau of Corrections Director-General Franklin Jesus Bucayu, former BuCor OIC and NBI deputy director Rafael Ragos, Wilfredo Elli, Jaybee Sebastian, Joenel Sanchez, and Jose Adrian Dera.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) did not endorse its findings to the Ombudsman, despite de Lima's position that the anti-graft office has sole jurisdiction over her cases which are cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, and not the lower courts.

The cases stem from separate complaints filed with the DOJ by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, NBI, former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, and Bilibid inmate Jaybee Sebastian.

The complaints allege that de Lima directed high-profile Bilibid inmates to distribute huge volumes of shabu to help fund her senatorial bid.

De Lima allegedly received millions in drug money because of this.

Meanwhile, the DOJ dismissed the cases against 5 Bilibid inmates who testified against De Lima in a congressional inquiry into the Bilibid drug trade.

The DOJ said they will be used as witnesses in the prosecution against De Lima and others.

The case against Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III was dismissed for lack of evidence.

Also junked is the complaint against De Lima, Dayan, and self-confessed drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa, in connection with De Lima’s alleged receipt of P8-million from Espinosa.

The complaint for violations of the Anti-Torture Act was also dismissed.

The DOJ will endorse to the Ombudsman charges involving direct bribery and indirect bribery, violations of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act, and violations of the code of ethical standards for public officials and employees.

The DOJ said the cases against De Lima and other may be raffled by the Muntinlupa RTC on Monday. The cases involve non-bailable offenses. - with ANC