MANILA (UPDATE) – The illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) may have involved government officials “above” former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre claimed Monday.
Aguirre made this claim ahead of the investigation of the House of Representatives into the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) during the previous administration.
“Sa ngayon po ay si [former] Secretary de Lima lamang ang pinakamaatas na opisyal ng gobyerno nung nakaraang administrasyon [ang dawit] pero ‘di po yan matatapos dyan sapagkat mayroong nagsasabi na ito ay tataas pa bukod kay de Lima. Pero sa ngayon po ay premature pa iyan sapagkat ang aming imbestigasyon ay patuloy pa,” he said.
(As of now the investigation has showed that de Lima was the highest government official from the previous administration allegedly involved in the drug trade. However, it may not end there as some people are saying that the trade involves someone above de Lima. That information could be premature because right now our investigation continues.)
Several high profile inmates are set to testify against de Lima in the House inquiry, including robbery gang leader Herbert Colangco.
Colangco reportedly claimed in his affidavit that de Lima got millions from drug lords in exchange for allowing drug convicts to continue their illegal operations.
Aguirre also said former Bureau of Corrections chief Rafael Ragos will testify that he delivered at least P5 million in drug money per visit to De Lima's house in Paranaque.
De Lima has denied all the allegations and said she will not attend the House probe.
"With or without an invitation, I will not attend that hearing," said De Lima.
"I will not even send any representative, lawyer or even an observer. I'm not at all recognizing that proceedings. It is a sham inquiry with no objective other than to demolish or destroy me, upon orders of the president,” she said.
Aguirre said about 30 witnesses and resource persons will be presented before the House probe on the first day of the probe.
He said some of the inmates voluntarily gave information to the government.
“Ang nangyari eh merong mga kamag-anak nitong mga inmates na ito, mga asawa, at kanilang mga abugado na pumunta sa DOJ at nagsasabi na ang kanilang mga kamag-anak daw eh naniniwala na sa kampanya ng Pangulong Duterte na dapat wakasan ang mga anomalya sa loob ng Bilibid,” he said.
(The relatives, wives and lawyers of these inmates have approached the DOJ to tell that they are now believing the drug campaign of President Duterte and want for the drug trade inside Bilibid to end.)