Ex-Justice USec denies hand in Bilibid drug trade

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2016 12:55 PM | Updated as of Aug 24 2016 09:11 PM

APPEALS TO DUTERTE TO GIVE DUE PROCESS

Former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan. File Photo

MANILA - Former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan has denied Wednesday any involvement with the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

"All I can say now is that this is something I totally cannot imagine myself being involved in; it contradicts the deepest Christian values I hold dear," Baraan said in a statement, released a day after President Rodrigo Duterte tagged him in the narcotics trade.

"I know myself, and in due time the truth will prevail," Baraan added.

Duterte said he is preparing a "drug matrix" that will show the role of Baraan and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in NBP's drug trade.

Saying that he is "powerless" against Duterte's accusation, Baraan appealed for a chance to prove his innocence through due process.

"I respect our President, but I am powerless before him. All I ask is fairness and due process, a chance to vindicate myself in a formal proceeding. If a complaint will be filed, so then I will have the opportunity to present my side," he said.

Baraan also clarified that he only has limited administrative authority over the Bureau of Corrections, which supervises state penitentiaries.

"As Usec having limited administrative supervision of BuCor as Bureau, I did never oversee, either on the ground or from a distance, the prison operations in Bucor's seven penal colonies, more so the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinglupa. As wrongly reported, I was not Usec in charge of the Bilibid: this is a total misconception," he said.

The former Cabinet official added that his only Bucor-related tasks are limited to counter-signing documents reviewed by the DOJ Technical Services and forwarding them to de Lima for her final approval.

"That takes just a few minutes. Then, for Bucor my task is done that day," he said.

Baraan said he dedicates the rest of his work hours to other tasks like resolving petitions for review, attending meetings and receiving foreign guests.