VACC adds House findings to De Lima complaint

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2016 02:30 PM

VACC founding chairman and president Dante Jimenez and Senator Leila De Lima. (Composite Photo/NPPA Images)

In an effort to bolster its complaint against Senator Leila De Lima, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Thursday added the findings of the House of Representatives on the illegal drug trade to its complaint against the former justice secretary.

VACC founding chairman and president Dante Jimenez filed with the Department of Justice a supplemental complaint-affidavit with the findings of the House justice committee, which investigated the drug trade inside the national penitentiary.

It also includes sworn statements of several witnesses in the probe who directly or indirectly linked De Lima to the drug trade, bringing the number of the complaint's testimonial evidence to 18.

"All the witnesses who testified before the House Committee on Justice affirmed the rampant trading and sale of drugs within and outside the NBP, as facilitated by the said inmates from within the said prison facility. There is no doubt about it," according to the complaint-affidavit.

"All of them likewise stated under oath that proceeds of the drug sale were delivered to Sec. Leila M. De Lima, in person or via her representative/s, for the purpose of helping her in her election campaign," it added.

Among the witnesses whose sworn statements were included are:

- former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos;
- NBI agent Jovencio P. Ablen;
- Presidential Security Group (PSG) member Joenel Sanchez;
- PSG member Romel Falcasantos;
- P/Supt. Jerry C. Valeroso;
- Reynant D. Diaz;
- Rodolfo T. Magleo (Bilibid inmate);
- Herbert R. Colanggo (Bilibid inmate);
- Noel G. Martinez (Bilibid inmate);
- Jaime Patcho (Bilibid inmate);
- Hans Anton Tan (Bilibid inmate);
- Froilan "Poypoy" L. Trestiza (Bilibid inmate);
- Jojo R. Baligad (Bilibid inmate);
- Engelberto A. Durano (Bilibid inmate);
- Nonilo A. Arile (Bilibid inmate);
- Joel D. Capones (Bilibid inmate);
- Wu Tuan Yuan aka Peter Co (Bilibid inmate); and
- Vicente Sy (Bilibid inmate)

Sanchez is also a respondent in the complaint, along with former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, former BuCor Director Jesus B. Bucayu, De Lima security aide Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, Jose Adrian Dera aka Jad De Vera and Bilibid high-profile inmate and kingpin Jaybee Sebastian.

De Lima and all her co-respondents are facing drug trafficking charges punishable under Republic Act 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Aside from the VACC, former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala had also filed a complaint against Ragos and De Lima for alleged trading and trafficking.

De Lima, however, had already said she welcomed such charges, saying she'd rather face the accusations in court rather than in congressional inquiries.

The Duterte administration points to the Bilibid drug trade as the nerve center of the country's illegal drug operations, with reportedly 75 percent of drug transactions, prior to the assumption of President Duterte into office, being controlled by the state penitentiary's convicts.