De Lima won’t attend House probe on drugs in Bilibid
Sen. Leila de Lima will not take part in the House of Representatives’ inquiry into the prevalence of drugs inside the New Bilibid Prisons, a facility that was under her purview during her time as justice secretary.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, De Lima said she was the one who exposed the persistence of the drug trade led by convicts at the national penitentiary.
“I don’t think they have a legitimate matter to be a subject of an inquiry in aid of legislation,” the junior lawmaker said.
De Lima had several times led raids at the NBP during her time as justice secretary, leading to the dismantling of luxury villas and confiscation of contraband from high-profile prisoners. The facility is under the Bureau of Corrections, an attached agency of the Department of Justice.
She said Congress had already investigated the proliferation of drugs behind prison walls. A 2014 raid busted luxury quarters for maximum security prisoners and led to a haul of contraband, including cash, drugs, sex toys, and top-of-the-line gadgets and appliances.
The former justice chief then led several other raids, where even more contraband were confiscated each time.
“They held hearings on what happened in Bilibid after our raid. The Congressional committee conducted an ocular inspection. So they know why that is happening in Bilibid,” De Lima told reporters after chairing a five-hour hearing on the spate of drug-related deaths since the start of the Duterte administration.
“I was the one who initiated that. Why should I be the one investigated? I was the one who took the initiative to do something. I was the one who exposed the problems there, and they know I exerted certain efforts, took some steps after discovering all those in Bilibid,” she said.
De Lima has courted the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies for her staunch stand against the administration’s war on drugs. No less than Duterte has accused her of receiving drug money through her driver-lover.
She reiterated that she was not involved in the illicit trade, saying: “I am sure about myself.”
“I am sure never involved in drugs, I never benefited with anything from drugs. I am not a protector, coddler or drug lord. Maybe others will not believe, but later they would. And those who know me, they know I will never do that,” De Lima told reporters.
She refused to address allegations that she was involved in the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
“Who jailed Napoles? Just answer that. That’s (allegation) too unfair,” she said.
The DOJ handled the investigation of fund diversions under the scam allegedly led by Napoles, leading to the indictment of the businesswoman and several lawmakers./rga
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