SENATOR REACTS TO FRESH ACCUSATIONS
(UPDATE) MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre claimed Tuesday he has a witness who can testify that the cash confiscated from the 2014 New Bilibid Prison raid amounted to P300-million and not P1.6-million as reported.
The raid was done when Senator Leila de Lima was the Justice Secretary wherein the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) were allegedly left behind.
"Ostensibly, on paper, they said that they only confiscated guns, et cetera, et cetera, and P1,600,000; but I have a witness to tell, to produce later, that the actual amount confiscated was more than P300-million," said Aguirre on ANC's Headstart with Karen Davila.
The "big question" now, he said, is why the papers only stated P1.6-million and where the rest of the P300-million went. He said, they do not know if the money was brought to De Lima, but it is possible that the money was divided among people.
"Kasama siya dun sa planong ‘yun eh," he said when asked if there is direct proof of De Lima's connection to the trade.
De Lima however called as "fantastic" Aguirre's newest claim.
"Ang dami na nilang fantastic tale. Oh my god! Sino na naman yang witness na yan? Fantastic!" she said.
"Tanungin niyo na lang lahat ng agencies involved sa operations kung totoo yan. Wala pong ganon [You can ask all agencies involved. There is nothing like that]. Anong P300M? Lalong nagiging fantastic ang istorya nila, wala nang ibang maisip. Too much! Too much," she added.
In an earlier issued statement, De Lima slammed Aguirre and likened the supposed new evidence to the justice secretary's infamous wig.
"Alleged evidence against me is like his toupee, his wig - fake and cosmetics only. There is nothing into it other than that. Nothing's authentic. What is real however are the killings," De Lima said.
"What is tragic is that these killings continue unabated. And the criminals, including these so-called vigilantes, are getting bolder; while the victims are getting younger," she added, emphasizing that the Justice department should "instead focus its efforts in investigating and prosecuting the syndicates."
RAID TWO YEARS AGO
Director Benjamin Magalong, the chief of the CIDG earlier testified that his men were eased out of the raid, and Aguirre said such claims "strengthened our case more than two times than before he testified in the Congress."
Aguirre explained that the raid conducted sans Magalong's group was conducted "in order—this was testified too by the inmates—so that Jaybee Sebastian will have the sole authority or [be] the sole trader inside the Bilibid when all these 19 high-profile prisoners are transferred to the NBI."
Meanwhile, Aguirre said "one of the drug lords and intelligence agents" have told him that detained crime kingpin Jaybee Sebastian gave out arms to the drug lords within the prison "preparatory to the raids", saying: "I’m very strong with the BuCor [Bureau of Corrections] chief, Secretary De Lima. Here is your arms, and you can hide anything inside the Bilibid."
One of them would even reveal, said Aguirre, that the cement in the place where they kept the firearms was still fresh when the raid was conducted.
He also said they might bring some security details of De Lima to the House hearings, wherein one may testify that De Lima asked him to deposit checks "in several occasions" and regularly withdraw about P300,000 from the bank account where the checks were deposited.
"We are going to ask the [sic] AMLC [Anti-Money Laundering Council] as to how big the deposits in this account [are]," he said.