MANILA -- Former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III insisted Wednesday that he did not make money from the transfer of inmates inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), contrary to claims of convicted robber Herbert Colanggo.
During the congressional probe on the alleged NBP narcotics ring, Colanggo claimed that he arranged the transfer of inmates from one security compound to another by giving bribes to Baraan through a certain "Susan," his alleged bagman.
Refuting what he dubbed as Colanggo's "outlandish claim," Baraan explained that the transfer of prisoners within the Bilibid Compound is decided exclusively by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director.
"I did not have that authority to cause or order any such transfer. In instances like this, the Bucor Director would decide alone, and would not formally seek the approval of the Office of the Secretary," he said in a statement.
"Any BuCor Director can also attest to this. We did not even know who were transferred and where, when, why were the transfers made."
Baraan added that he is not acquainted with any "Susan" in the Department of Justice (DOJ) technical staff. He said he only learned that two employees in that office carried that name after inquiring from the staff director.
"What I am certain of is that I do not have -- with either of them -- that kind of dealing that Colanggo generally described in his outlandish claim. What he claimed is a total impossibility insofar as I am concerned," he said.
He also challenged the inmate to produce proof that he approved any transfer of inmates within the Bilibid compound.
During Tuesday's House probe on the alleged NBP narcotics ring, Colanggo also testified that Senator Leila de Lima received millions of pesos in bribes as former DOJ secretary for allowing the posh lifestyle of VIP inmates.
He also narrated how he held concerts and smuggled liquor for his fellow inmates.
De Lima has denied the allegations, saying attacks against her are politically-motivated.