Bilibid became PHL’s drug trade center under De Lima’s watch, witness says

MANILA — The National Bilibid Prison (NBP) became the country’s drug trade center during the term of Senator Leila De Lima as Department of Justice secretary, an inmate told lawmakers on Tuesday.

During the House of Representatives justice committee’s inquiry into the illegal drug trade inside the NBP , Rodolfo Magleo, former police chief inspector who was convicted for kidnapping in 2004, also described the national penitentiary as “Little Las Vegas” due to the proliferation of drugs and gambling.

He detailed that concerts starring famous celebrities were even held at the maximum security compound during the tenure of then DOJ chief De Lima.

Magleo, who is the leader of gang group Kalasag, said he personally met De Lima and her chief escort Ronnie Dayan at the Batang City Jail Park inside the Maximum Security Compound in the mid part of 2011.

During the meeting, Magleo, along with three other gang leaders, was tasked to sell drugs to fund De Lima’s plans.

However, Magleo was eventually removed from his position because of his inability to pay the weekly Php50,000 quota to Dayan.

On the other hand, Jaybee Sebastian, a fellow convict, was able to go beyond the quota, even handing Php100,000 weekly to Dayan.

Magleo, a confidant of Sebastian, described him as the “king of drug lords” because of his power to monopolize the drug trade inside the maximum security compound, as well as his capacity to request the removal of non-conforming inmate leaders and drug lords from the said compound.

Magleo said he once had a drinking spree with Sebastian who revealed that he paid millions to De Lima and Bureau of Corrections Director Franklin Bucayu.

Magleo further detailed that Sebastian paid then justice secretary De Lima Php10 million for the transfer of the “Bilibid 19”, which is a group of high-profile inmates involved in the NBP drug trade, and additional Php1 million per month.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez approved the grant of immunity for Magleo, and five other witnesses, for their testimonies in this legislative investigation in aid of legislation.

The other witnesses are Herbert Colanggco, Noel Martinez, Jaime Patcho, Rafael Ragos, and Jovencio Ablen, Jr. Filane Mikee Cervantes/PNA/