Duterte admits ordering transfer of Bilibid inmates who testified vs De Lima
NAGA CITY, Cebu–President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that he ordered the transfer of 10 high-profile inmates who testified against Senator Leila De Lima from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) to the Philippine Marines headquarters.
Duterte said he just wanted to protect these inmates since he claimed that De Lima, who is currently detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City on illegal drug charges, still has allies inside the NBP. De Lima served as justice secretary under the Aquino administration.
“Naay issue na naay uban wa nako ipapreso adto sa penitentiary, Muntinlupa, gipabalhin nako diha sa Marines (There is an issue that there were some whom I didn’t detain at the penitentiary in Muntinlupa. I had them transferred to the Marines),” he said in a speech in Barangay Inoburan here during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of permanent houses of those affected by last year’s landslide that killed at least 78 people.
“Ngano? Tungod kay nahadlok ko na naa pay daghang bata-bata si De Lima na nabilin diha ug kanang mga testigos mag-kontra ug naa diha ihawon gyud na. Pag-abot ug panahon wala nay mag-istorya ug tinuod (Why? Because I was scared that De Lima still has many allies left there and those who testified against her, might fight and might be killed. By the time comes, no one would speak of the truth).”
The NBP is the main insular penitentiary of the Philippines maintained by the Bureau of Corrections under the Department of Justice.
Duterte also said that he had pardoned or commuted the sentences of convicts.
Although he didn’t identify them, he said that such a power was bestowed upon him by the Constitution.
“It’s given sa Constitution. The power to pardon is absolute. You do not question that. I will not answer questions why,” said Duterte.
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