MANILA — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday filed several charges before the Department of Justice against former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima and 17 others, including former government officials and inmates for their alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said the charges were based on the findings of their investigating panel from the affidavits of witnesses who appeared before the House Committee on Justice, the NBI also conducted interviews and collected documentary evidence to support their complaint.
”We filed cases against 18 individuals the basis yung iba nagbigay ng individual statements assisted by counsel, yung iba from house probe affidavits,” Lavin told reporters.
In a 20-page complaint, the NBI asked the DOJ to conduct preliminary investigation on De Lima for violation of Sections 5, 26 (b), and 27 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act 9165), qualified bribery (Revised Penal Code) and Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019), violation of An Act Punishing the Receiving and Giving of Gifts of Public Officials and Employees (Presidential Decree 46) and Section 7 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713).
Also charged were former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Franklin Bucayu, former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan, NBI Deputy Director Rafael Ragos, De Lima’s former security Joenel Sanchez, her former driver Ronnie Dayan, a certain Wilfredo Elli, Jesusa Francisco, Lyn Sagum, Julius Rejuso and a certain Alias George are facing a complaints for for direct bribery and violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019, PD 46 and Section 7 (d) of RA 6173.
The high profile inmates namely Jaybee Sebastian, Herbert Colanggo, Engelbert Durano, Vicente Sy, Wu Tuan Yuan alyas Peter Co and Jojo Baligad are facing raps for violation distribution of illegal drugs which is punishable under RA 9165.
“It is evident from the revelations of numerous witnesses as detailed in their sworn affidavits that herein subject Senator Leila De Lima [and the other government officials in the complaint] were fully aware of the unlawfulness of their actions yet, still actively conspired with their superiors,” the complaint stated.
The NBI said De Lima from January to November 2014 received PHP3 million every month in drug money from Colanggo which she allegedly requested to raise money for her upcoming senatorial bid, adding that the amount was received by the then DOJ chief through her security aide, Sanchez.
It said that from March to May 2015, De Lima also received PHP10 million from Sebastian coursed through Sanchez.
It added that in the latter part of 2014, De Lima attended a meeting held inside Sebastian’s ‘kubol’ inside the NBP attended by Baligad, Rodolfo Magleo, Jaime Patcho and German Agojo where the said gang leaders were ordered by Sebastian to produce funds for De Lima’s senatorial bid.
It was also in this meeting, the NBI said that the drug operation was “centralized” with Sebastian as the head.
De Lima claimed that she could not tolerate the illegal activities being conducted inside Bilibid which was why she started the series of raids inside prison.
But the NBI said if De Lima wants to clean Bilibid, “this panel could not possibly fathom the idea that upon the culmination of the raid, Jaybee Sebastian, regarded by numerous personalities as the most powerful and influential drug lord inside nBP was peacefully left to himself inside his ‘kubol’ without so much as a cursory search.”
“These circumstances only cement the allegations propounded against her that Jaybee Sebastian, the figurative goose that lays the golden eggs, enjoyed her protection,” the NBI said.
Baraan according to the complaint received PHP1 million sometime in 2013 from Sy for his transfer from the Sablayan Prison Farm in Occidenta Mindoro to the NBP, PHP1 million in 2011 from Sy for the transfer of inmate Co to Iwahig in Palawan and PHP600,000 in 2014 from Sy for Co’s release from ‘bartolina.’
Baraan also allegedly received from PHP150,000 to PHP500,000 from Colanggo’s talent manager Renante Diaz which was coursed through Francisco and Sagum
As to Bucayu, the NBI said he also received a weekly “tara” from high-profile inmates beginning in his term of PHP100,000 each while in 2013, he received PHP100,000 to PHP200,000 two to three times a month from Sy.
From January to November 2014, Bucayu received according to the NBI PHP1.2 million each month.
Ragos on the other hand demanded a weekly payment of PHP100,000 from high-profile inmates Co and Froilan Trestiza in 2013 while in December 2012, he also received from Trestiza PHP200,000 in exchange for his transfer from the ‘bartolina’ to the maximum security compound.
“Senator De Lima could not have been successful in amassing her campaign funds without the indispensable support and involvement of her Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III who had supervision over the BuCor, Jesus Franklin Bucayu who was the director of the said agency and Rafael Ragos who served as BuCor OIC, all of whom were appointed to their positions through her intervention and thus, practically owed her a huge debt,’ the NBI said.
”In the final analysis, it is the culture of shameless corruption exacerbated during the terms of Secretary De Lima, Baraan, Bucayu and Ragos, including all their confederates as named herein, that ultimately led to the opening of the floodgates for all kinds of illicit activities inside the NBP, most notably the proliferation of illegal drugs,” it added.
The NBI complaint is the fourth case filed against De Lima at the DOJ, while Sebastian’s complaint anti-graft, anti-torture law, code of conduct and ethical standards, and indirect bribery is the third against De Lima also at the DOJ. The first was filed on Oct. 11 by the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC), led by its president Dante Jimenez. The complaint was grounded on the senator’s alleged violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act.
The second complaint was filed by former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officials Reynaldo O. Esmeralda and Ruel M. Lasala, citing the same violation filed by VACC.
The DOJ organized a five-man panel on Oct. 14 headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter L. Ong. Other prosecutors in the team are Senior Assistant City Prosecutor (SACP) Alexander P. Ramos, SACP Leila R. Llanes, SACP Evangeline P. Viudez-Canobas, and Assistant State Prosecutor Editha C. Fernandez.
Aside from drug-trafficking charges, a disbarment complaint was filed against the lady senator last October 28.
The anti-corruption watchdog group, together with former NBI Deputy Directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala and jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam, said that De Lima should be disbarred for gross immorality, violation of the Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility.
De Lima also faces election protest filed recently before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) by former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino, who placed 13th in the senatorial race held in May. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA-northboundasia.com