MANILA - (UPDATE2) Convicted crime lord Tony Co was killed while three others were wounded in a stabbing incident at the national penitentiary on Wednesday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said.
Drug convict Peter Co was in critical condition while two others, Vicente Sy and Jaybee Sebastian were being treated in the hospital, Aguirre told DZMM.
Another inmate, Clarence Dongail, was also stabbed with an ice pick but chose to be treated outside of the hospital, according to the secretary.
The incident started when an inmate named Edgar Cinco saw Sy and the two Co's using shabu inside a cell and told Dongail, who confronted the three.
"Pinuntahan niya yung tatlo, sabi niya wag naman kayo gagawa ng ganyan. Masama na nga yung kuwan natin dito, lahat pa tayo mapapasama pag nalaman ng mga otoridad yang ginagawa ninyong pag-shashabu," said Aguirre.
[He went to the three and told them to stop what they were doing. He said they were already in a bad situation and it could get worse if authorities found out they were using shabu inside the jail.]
Dongail then went into Sebastian's cell, where the brawl ensued at around 7:40 a.m.
"Sumugod si Tony Co, sinugod si Major (Dongail) at nagkaroon ng riot [Tony Co charged at Major and a riot ensued], said Aguirre.
But as to who stabbed whom, the secretary said they still have to investigate.
"Ito ay hindi tama hindi maganda sa gobyerno [na] mamatay si Jaybee Sebastian sapagkat siya ang inaasahan naming mag-spill ng beans...diretso yan kay Sec. De Lima kaya ayaw naming patay yan, gusto namin buhay siya," he said.
[This is not right and not good for the government. We want Jaybee Sebastian to live because we're relying on him to spill the beans on Sec. De Lima. So we don't want him to die, we want him to live.]
Convicted drug dealers told a congressional investigation last week Sebastian allegedly led illegal drug operations from behind bars to fund then justice secretary Leila de Lima's senatorial campaign.
In an interview with ANC, Aguirre said they "will take necessary precautions" to give Sebastian additional security because he is "more valuable to us alive than dead."
"If he has to be separated or isolated from Building 14, we will do so. We could even send him to some penal farms," he said.
"Definitely, we will have some plans for him even before he gets out of the hospital," he added.
Aguirre earlier this week said Sebastian was suddenly unwilling to testify about De Lima's ties to the Bilibid drug trade.
"Ayaw niyang umamin pagdating doon sa illegal drug trade. Ang gusto lang niya anomalies, corruption tungkol doon sa monthly P10 million tungkol sa food supply," Aguirre said.
Dongail, on the other hand, is one of three former cops who were convicted for a 2003 kidnap-murder case in Bacolod City.