Co testifies giving PHP10-M in drug money to Sen. de Lima

MANILA — Convicted drug trafficker Peter Co on Monday further pinned down former justice secretary now Senator Leila de Lima for benefiting from the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

During the House of Representatives’ justice committee inquiry in aid of legislation, Co testified that he twice gave PHP5 million in 2012 through a certain Hans Tan as contribution of the Chinese community inside the maximum security compound to help bankroll de Lima’s senatorial bid.

”In both instances, Hans Tan just told me that the money was already given to Ronnie Dayan, who is in charge of receiving the money for then DOJ (Department of Justice) secretary de Lima. Hans Tan also said that the former OIC of BuCor (Bureau of Corrections), Rafael Ragos, was the one who delivered the money,” Co said in his affidavit, which was written in Filipino.

The Chinese community was able to shell out a total of PHP10 million in drug money as de Lima’s campaign kitty.

Co also said he gave a PHP100,000 weekly “tara” to then BuCor director Ragos in 2013 and continued even when Franklin Bucayu took over as the bureau’s chief.

Co noted that kidnapping convict Jaybee Sebastian was an influential inmate inside the Bilibid due to his links with the former justice secretary, even hinting that de Lima frequented Sebastian’s “kubol” or dwelling.

Co said Sebastian gathered him and several gang leaders in the presence of de Lima inside Sebastian’s “kubol” to discuss the plan to raise campaign funds and centralize drug operations in the latter part of 2014.

Even after the meeting, Sebastian tried to convince Co to join the drug trade, but he said he repeatedly rejected Sebastian’s offer.

Co said this led to his transfer, along with 18 other high-profile inmates, during the Dec. 15, 2014 raid inside the NBP.

Sebastian earlier denied that he was an “untouchable” inside the Bilibid, pointing to another high-profile inmate, Herbert Colanggo, as the favored drug lord of the former justice secretary.

Sebastian also denied being a government asset and said de Lima never visited his “kubol”. Filane Mikee Cervantes/