Senator Leila de Lima claimed Thursday that the convicts who figured in the fatal stabbing incident in the national penitentiary last month were the ones who refused to testify against her.
"All of these na mga nasaktan at namatay nung alleged riot na yun, yung incidente na yun, recent incident, these are those na hindi pa nila napipilit to also testify against me," she said on ANC's Headstart.
For this, she said, she understands why Sebastian is pursuing a case against her, and supposes that it is because he "also feels the pressure now because his life is under threat."
"As you know, matagal na siyang pinipilit, kinukumbinsi nila Secretary [Vitaliano] Aguirre and his operators to also testify against me, like Colanggo, but hindi siya napipilit. I also had info about that, very credible info, merong text pa nga. Hindi siya napipilit, hindi siya nakukumbinsi," she said.
[As you know, Secretary Aguirre and his operators have long been forcing him, convincing him to testify against me, but they couldn't coerce him. I also had information on that, a very credible information with text messages. He couldn't be forced, he couldn't be convinced.]
"And then may nangyaring ganun, muntik mamatay; may namatay pa," she said.
[And then something like that happens where he almost dies; where someone has died.]
According to Sebastian, he was stabbed by a Tomas Doniña, alias Tom, between 7:00 to 8:00 in morning in the mess hall of Building 14 of NBP last September 28.
He added that he was watching TV when he was stabbed from behind with an ice pick.
Sebastian also said in his statement that he talked with Doniña and a certain Clarence Dongail before the stabbing incident.
De Lima said, "only they know" what truly happened there, but "they must have been instructed to do that because clearly, there was an attempt on the life of these Bilibid 19 inmates who still refuse to testify against me."
She said, perhaps the concession for Sebastian not being fatally wounded was to sue her. Otherwise, she said, he should have pursued the case a long time ago.
"He should have done that the moment I agreed with the proposal of Director General Rainier Cruz to also transfer him to Bilibid 19 because it’s getting to be an issue daw. It was no longer defensible na naka-hiwalay din si Sebastian," she said.
"Alam na nila dati yan na yung information could have been…could have come from, some of the information emanated from Jaybee Sebastian. So why sue me only now? Sila Colanggo [Herbert Colanggo] and others previously sued me for transferring them to NBI Detention Facility from Bilibid," she added.
'NOT MY PERSONAL ASSET'
Sebastian's legal counsel Eduardo Arriba said that "because of De Lima's revelation that Sebastian was an asset, inmates in Building 14 [of the New Bilibid Prison] were enraged, thus his purported killing on September 28."
They are set to file a complaint against De Lima before the Office of the Ombudsman for "gross inexcusable negligence" and violations of the anti-torture law.
But De Lima clarified that Sebastian was not his personal asset as was reported.
"First, there was a report, he was my personal asset. I could not have any personal asset because I’m not into intelligence gathering. I was just a recipient of intelligence info," she said.
She said, former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Franklin Bucayu and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission Executive Director Reginald Villasanta were the ones giving her information.
"They told me, these two former officials, told me that one of the sources of their information was Sebastian. So, in a sense, he was an asset, but he was not my personal asset. He was never close to me," she said.
"All these trash, all this crap about that story about me frequenting his kubol, staying there for three hours, making it appear as if I was a sex worker visiting the kubol of high-profile convicts is total trash," she said.
She maintained, she never went to Sebastian's kubol inside the New Bilibid Prison alone, but had "I passed, about once or twice" in the course of her term as Justice Secretary, when she conducted surprise inspections.
"Before and after that major raid on December 15, 2014, I had several of those surprise inspections. So necessarily, I would be going into certain places, including those so-called kubols, which were dismantled after December 15," she said, adding that she was with BuCor and Bilibid personnel and her security detail when she went.