MANILA - Former Pangasinan Governor and now Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino Jr. assailed Thursday President Duterte's ''drug matrix,'' which accused him, Senator de Lima and several other officials of involvement in the drug operation at New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).
In an interview over radio dzMM, Espino insisted that he could never have been in league with de Lima, as she led the filing of several cases against him when she was still Justice Secretary.
"Paano ko naman makakasama itong si de Lima e siya itong nagpahirap sa akin?" he quipped.
[How could I have banded with de Lima when she was the one who persecuted me?]
Espino also argued that his only personal encounter with de Lima was at a wedding, where they were both principal sponsors.
He added that his first and only visit to the NBP occurred some 12 years ago.
When she was justice secretary, de Lima charged Espino with plunder, economic sabotage, murder and graft.
The cases have been dismissed except for the graft raps, which stemmed from Espino's involvement in the black sand mining operations in Lingayen Gulf.
Aside from Espino and de Lima, Duterte' s drug matrix also tagged:
- De Lima's former driver Ronnie Palisoc Dayan;
- former Justice Undersecretary Francis Baraan;
- Urbiztondo, Pangasinan Board Member Raul Sison;
- Pangasinan provincial administrator Rafael Baraanl
- Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino; and
- Former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayo.
De Lima and Dayan are on top of the matrix.
Dayan was described as the senator's since her days in the Commission on Human Rights. He allegedly received monthly payola (grease money) from Bucayo through a certain Senior Police Officer 1 Palisoc.
The matrix shows two arrows pointing from de Lima to Baraan and Bucayo, and leading to Espino.
According to the matrix, Bucayo is a go-between of De Lima and Espino, a former governor of Pangasinan.
Former Justice Undersecretary Francis Baraan's brother Rafael, meanwhile, was allegedly used to cover for Espino's illegal activities.
The template labeled Espino as the "richest politician in Northern Luzon."
"Ms. Cardenosa," who also appears in the matrix, is connected with Dayan as the alleged dummy for his properties.
The matrix also connected Ms. Cardenosa to Sison and Espino.
Duterte's 'drugs matrix' tags De Lima, others