BREAKING:Six Witnesses who could prove that Sen. Leila De Lima had sanctioned the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison
MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Thursday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has six witnesses who could prove that Sen. Leila De Lima had sanctioned the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), a facility under her purview during her time as justice chief in the Aquino administration.
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Speaking at the Senate on Wednesday, Aguirre said the witnesses include inmates, prison guards, and even De Lima’s friends who could show proof that the neophyte senator, who conducted several drug raids at the NBP during her time as justice secretary, took drug money.
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No less than President Rodrigo Duterte had linked De Lima to the drug trade just as the senator pursued an inquiry into the spate of deaths amid his drug war, including suspected summary executions. “We are taking their statements. We hope to take at least six witness affidavits, and they will be presented during the House investigations on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP,” Aguirre told reporters.
The House of Representatives, a chamber dominated by the President’s allies, has initiated an investigation into the NBP drug problem. Aguirre said the chamber has asked the DOJ to present witnesses in its inquiry.
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“Roughly, [they will testify] with respect with monetary anomalies inside Bilibid, the collection of drug moneys from these high-profile inmates,” he said. Aguirre said the witnesses could present proof of bank accounts, where drug money for the tagged officials, were sent. He, however, admitted, that none were under De Lima’s name.
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“There is a deluge of information volunteered about the involvement of these people. So we have to consolidate all this information, they should be verified by the people who have personal knowledge, and that’s the only time that we are going to prepare the complaints,” he said. Aguirre said De Lima may face charges of graft and violations of the anti-drug law.
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De Lima has repeatedly denied any involvement in drugs, saying she was the one who had initiated efforts to stop the illicit prison trade during her time at the DOJ. The Bureau of Corrections, which administers the NBP, is an attached agency of the DOJ.
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Aguirre said among those implicated in the alleged drug network are De Lima’s known former driver-lover Ronnie Dayan, former DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan, his brother Rafael Baraan, a former Pangasinan provincial administrator and Pangasinan 5th District Representative Amado Espino Jr.
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