BREAKING NEWS Cops “excluded” from NBP drug raid by De Lima
Philippine National Police deputy chief of operationns Director Benjamin Magalong testified that he was stopped from performing a raid operation in the New Bilibid Prison when his team found that there was a proliferation of illegal drugs inside.
During the hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Juticse, Magalong said that he proposed a drug raid in the facility during Senator Leila de Lima's term as Department of Justice Secretary in 2014.
Then head of the Criminal Investigation and DDetection Group (CIDG), Magalong's team planned the "Oplan Cronus" for the supposed massive raid in NBP's maximum security compound.
He said the team planned the operation after finding out that most drug dealers arrested by PNP were getting their supplies at NBP.
“We found out na ang pinanggalingan ng droga, ang mga ka-deal nila dito ay mga tao sa loob ng NBP,” Magalong said.
He said De Lima knew about the plan.
“Nag-usap kami at prinesent ko ang aming findings sa kanya (De Lima). We were surprised na may whiteboard siya sa loob ng opisina niya, may diagram tungkol sa nangyayari sa NBP, may mga drug personality doon,” Magalong recounted. “Sabi ko, ‘Ma’am kailangan natin i-raid ang NBP dahil ito na nangyayari ang [drug] trade,” he added.
De Lima reportedly responded by saying that she will call for an inter-agency meeting.
During the first meeting, Magalong was surprised to see Bureau of Corrections officer Rafael Ragos, when no BuCor official was supposed to be there. He claimed De Lima looked surprised then too.
“Nagulat ako at nasenyasan ko si Secretary De Lima, bakit nandun si Ragos. Nakita ko naman po na kahit si De Lima nagulat din bakit nandun si Ragos. In short, pinalabas siya (Ragos) and we started our brainstorming session".
Ragos previously testified that he and subordinate Jovencio Alben Jr. delivered P10 million to the house in Paranaque which De Lima allegedly owns.
Ragos claimed the money came from drug lord and NBP inmate Peter Go.
De Lima, according to Magalong asked them after two planning sessions to wait for the joint Letter of Instruction (LOI) from the secretary of justice and then Secretary of Interior and Local Government (SILG) Mar Roxas.
“Sabi niya (De Lima), hintay ka lang Benjie, hintay ka lang Benjie…Then we waited and we waited and we waited (for the LOI). Then nalaman ko December, bigla na nagpaplano na sila (DOJ) ng raid,” Magalong said.
Magalong said their team eventually informed then BuCor director Franklin Bucayu about the raid that they wanted to conduct in NBP.
“Pagka-invite namin kay Bucayu, he manifested kung pwede 'di ituloy ang raid. Sabi niya (Bucayu) mahihirapan kami. Ang dami niyang binanggit na negative. But we prevailed [upon him] at sabi ko ‘Sir itutuloy namin ito’,” Magalong recounted.
He said Bucayo visited him in his office sometime in September 2014.
“Pinuntahan ako sa office ko sa CIDG. Sabi nila ‘Benjie kung pwede huwag mo i-raid ang NBP’. Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Bakit sir, nakita nyo naman ang development sa loob’,” Magalong said.
“Sabi ni Bucayu, ‘Benjie mamamatay ako, delikado ako dyan,’”
Magalong said he then told Bucayu to bring up the matter to De Lima.
“Sabi ko 'di ako magde-decide. Ang pinakamaayos na mag-decide is the SOJ (Secretary of Justice),” he said.
Magalong said Bucayu requested him to arrange a meeting with De Lima.
“Sabi ko sige sir, so tinawagan ko si Secretary De Lima. After that, nag-usap sila,” Magalong said.
Magalong said that in the end , PDEA was not included in the NBP drug raid.
“Naghihintay kami (CIDG and PDEA) then finally nagkaroon sila ng raid na wala na kami. Then ang pinadala na lang na request sa PDEA ay K-9 na lang,” Magalong recounted.
“To be honest with you, kami sa CIDG at PDEA masamang masama ang loob namin,” Magalong added.
De Lima, accompanied by the personnel of the NBI, conducted a raid in the NBP maximum security compound on December 15, 2014, where several lavish quarters for inmates were discovered and some illegal drugs were seized.