Sebastian may skip Bilibid hearing following prison riot
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, who chairs the House of Representatives justice committee, on Wednesday said carnapping convict Jaybee Sebastian may skip the next congressional hearing into the alleged drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.
In an interview with reporters, Umali said the congressional inquiry may still push through with other witnesses even without Sebastian, who is now hospitalized after being hurt in a prison riot Wednesday morning.
“Kung hindi naman debilitating yun (If it’s not debilitating), he must appear. Kung debilitating (If it’s debilitating), you can’t really come, then probably we can spare him for the next hearing,” Umali said.
The House is set to resume its inquiry into the proliferation of drugs at the Bilibid from Oct. 5 to 7.
Umali said the inquiry without Sebastian could still push through with the testimonies of other witnesses— Ronnie Dayan, Senator Leila de Lima’s alleged driver who collected drug money for her; De Lima’s security aide Joenel Sanchez, who allegedly served as De Lima’s bagman; former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayo; and former Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission Executive Director Reginald Villasanta.
“Hindi lang naman siya (Sebastian) ang importante rito )He’s not the only key personality here). Sebastian is not the be all and end all of this committee hearing,” Umali said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Benjamin Magalong earlier testified that Villasanta was with Bucayo when the latter pleaded Magalong not to pursue with the PNP’s planned Bilibid raid, that was instead led by De Lima and the National Bureau of Investigation. Bucayo said he could get killed if the PNP pushes through with the raid.
De Lima’s raid allegedly spared her favored drug lord Sebastian, although the former justice secretary said Sebastian was a government asset. She denied Sebastian raised campaign funds for her from the Bilibid drug trade.
Sebastian was hurt in a prison riot Wednesday morning, raising speculations the attack was connected to his testimony in the House inquiry.
The riot occurred at about 7:30 a.m., when fellow inmate, convicted police officer Clarence Dongail caught inmates Peter Co, Tony Co, and Vicente Sy having a “pot session” inside their cell.
Tony Co reportedly went to the cell of Sebastian and Dongail and attacked Dongail with a knife, sparking the riot. Tony Co was killed in the riot. Peter Co is in critical condition.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II however said Sebastian was only willing to testify about the anomalies surrounding the food supply inside Bilibid and not the drug trade. CDG
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