6 witnesses to pin De Lima on Bilibid drugs – DOJ
MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said up to six witnesses have given testimonies linking Senator Leila de Lima with drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) while those who would testify against five police generals tagged by President Duterte as drug syndicate protectors have been admitted to the Witness Protection Program of the Department of Justice.
Aguirre said the witnesses against De Lima included NBP inmates, guards and people close to De Lima who have already executed sworn statements at the Department of Justice.
“The President has a wide source of intelligence (information) about what he was saying so perhaps my own sources are not even 1/10th of his own sources,” said Aguirre in a chance interview Wednesday at the EU-Philippines Justice Support program launch in a hotel along Ortigas Ave., Pasig City.
President Duterte earlier linked Senator De Lima and former DOJ undersecretary Francisco F. Baraan III to the drug lords currently detained at the NBP compound.
“We will present our witnesses to the House investigation. There will be a House Investigation on the proliferation of drugs at NBP,” said Aguirre.
At the same time, witnesses linking the five generals of the Philippine National Police to drug syndicates have already been placed under Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the DOJ.
In an unprecedented move weeks ago, President Duterte named and shamed five police generals, either retired or still in active service who, he said, have been protecting drug syndicates in the country. Duterte named retired Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo; retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot, now a municipal mayor of Cebu; Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, former regional director of Region 11; Chief Supt. Joel Pagdilao, former director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO); and Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio, former chief of the Quezon City Police District.
The National Police Commission has set proceedings on the administrative charges against the five generals. The proceedings run parallel to the investigation of the five for criminal charges that would be handled by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Aguirre assured the public that the investigation was not aimed at individuals but on the “cause of the proliferation (of drugs) and the neglect that led to the proliferation of drugs in NBP.”
The gathering of evidence against officials with links in the drug syndicates at NBP has been proceeding smoothly, said Aguirre, as witnesses continued to present themselves at the DOJ to execute sworn statements.
As to De Lima’s former driver Ronnie Dayan, who was tagged by the President as the bagman of drug money for De Limas, Aguirre said: “ Yes, he (Dayan) collects drug money from high profile drug lords (at the Bilibid compound).”
He said witnesses told the DOJ that sometime in June, Senator De Lima and Dayan were seen together at the latter’s house in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan.
“We are not focusing our investigation on any particular individual but definitely, when I say that we are investigating ex-officials of the DOJ that include the highest to the lowest, I mean we would do it as long as we could show that there is probable cause against them,” said Aguirre.
“We are going to file the necessary charges against them,” said the justice secretary.
Aguirre said a governor also turned over himself to the DOJ, fearing that he was the one being referred to by President Duterte as having links with drug syndicates.
Aguirre did not identify the governor or what part of Philippines he came from.
“He (governor) was already crying. The governor was already crying feeling he was the one referred to by the President.” SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.