Alvarez: Everyone will be summoned to illegal drugs probe

MANILA — The House of Representatives will summon to its forthcoming probe all who can shed light on the prevalence of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Thursday.

In an interview, Alvarez said the resource persons would likewise include personalities mentioned in the “matrix” released by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“All of the people involved in the matter will be investigated so that we can have a clearer picture,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez is the principal author of House Resolution No. 105 seeking investigation into the illegal drug trade inside NBP that flourished during the term of incumbent senator Leila De Lima as Secretary of Justice.

Invoking the rule on inter-parliamentary courtesy, Alvarez stressed that the House would not compel De Lima to appear before the Committee on Justice which investigate the matter.

”We won’t oblige her (De Lima) to attend. It is entirely up to her because of the existing rule called inter-parliamentary courtesy. We will provide that; we will respect that,” the House Speaker said.

But even without De Lima’s participation, Alvarez said the House would press on its effort to search out the truth behind illegal drug trade in the country’s premier prison facility

“We will continue to uncover the reason behind the proliferation of illegal drugs during (De Lima’s) term as justice secretary,” he said.

Alvarez clarified that the forthcoming House probe is meant to find out why the drug trade flourished inside the national penitentiary and not specifically targeted against De Lima.

He likewise stressed that the House probe was not a duplication of the Senate work, noting the focus of the investigation of the Upper Chamber was on the alleged summary killings of suspected drug personalities.

Meanwhile, Alvarez said the House would look into the alleged involvement of incumbent Pangasinan 5th District Rep. Amado Espino, Jr. into the illegal drug trade at the NBP and give the latter the chance to explain his side.

Espino, former Pangasinan governor, was among the seven personalities named in the “matrix” released by Pres. Duterte.

”We have to look into that. We have proper committees to further inspect this problem,” Alvarez said. Filane Mikee Cervantes/PNA/