MANILA - The head of an anti-crime watchdog group urged lawmakers on Thursday to invite former President Benigno Aquino to their investigation on the illegal drugs trade at the national penitentiary.
Aquino should explain why his government failed to stop detained crime lords from operating the narcotics trade from inside air-conditioned villas at the New Bilibid Prisons, said Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) founding chairman Dante Jimenez.
“Hanggang ngayon, may mga droga pa d’yan at marami pang armas d’yan In the past six years ni President Aquino, nabanggit ba n’ya yan sa [Until now, there are drugs and arms there. In the past six years under President Aquino, he didn’t even mention it in his State of the Nation Address],” Jimenez told DZMM.
"Ano nga ba ang naging polisiya ng kanyaang adminitrasyon, sa kabuuan. Bakit naging ganito ang New Bilibid Prison? [What were the policies of his administration as a whole? Why did the New Bilibid Prison end up like this]?" he added.
Jimenez added that former interior secretary Mar Roxas, anti-narcotics agents and religious groups who led outreach work inside the state prison should also testify before the congressional inquiry.
Witnesses at previous hearing have accused Senator Leila de Lima of receiving millions in kickbacks from the illegal drug trade when she was Aquino’s justice secretary.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Tuesday that other Aquino Cabinet officials aside from De Lima could have also received payoffs from drug lords
De Lima has repeatedly shot down the allegations and on Wednesday dared President Rodrigo Duterte to arrest her.