NBI eyes more bank records for Bilibid drug trade investigation

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2016 04:36 PM

New Bilibid Prison PNP

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will make a fourth request for bank records with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), in line with the bureau's ongoing investigation into the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) illegal drug trade.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the request will cover four to five public officials and private individuals, but refused to give details.

Aguirre said he shared President Duterte’s frustration with AMLC’s "slow response" to the NBI’s earlier requests, and pointed out that two fraternity brothers of Senator Leila De Lima, who is at the center of the NBP drug trade controversy, are ranking officials at the council. 

The justice chief stressed the need for AMLC’s cooperation for the successful investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the illegal trade.

“Definitely, we need to have some AMLC cooperation para ma-validate namin yung aming information regarding the bank accounts,” he said.

The NBI is looking into a web of bank accounts and transactions of individuals and corporations suspected of involvement in the distribution of methamphetamine hydrochloride (“shabu”), the nerve center of operations for which is the state penitentiary.

Senator Leila de Lima and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre

De Lima, Aguirre’s predecessor at the Department of Justice (DOJ), allegedly caused high-profile NBP inmates, some of them convicted druglords, to sell huge volumes of “shabu” to fund her senatorial campaign.