DOJ witnesses vs De Lima invited to House drug probe–Alvarez
Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Thursday said witnesses linking Senator Leila de Lima with the illegal drug trade would be invited to the House of Representatives probe over the proliferation of drugs in the New Bilibid Prison.
In a press briefing, Alvarez said all persons involved would be invited to the House probe which he called for to look into the illicit drug trade in the national penitentiary allegedly involving De Lima when she was justice secretary.
“Lahat ng may kinalaman dun sa ginagawa nating imbestigasyon, talagang iimbitahin natin para makatulong dun sa pagbuo ng katotohanan,” Alvarez said.
(All involved in the ongoing investigation would be invited to help piece together the truth.)
Alvarez said Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre would also be invited, with the six witnesses who have executed sworn affidavits linking De Lima to the Bilibid drug trade.
Alvarez said De Lima’s former driver Ronnie Dayan may also be invited. President Rodrigo Duterte alleged that Dayan, whom he called De Lima’s lover, received pay-offs from former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayo in the Bilibid drug business, and collected drug pay-offs for De Lima.
“Lahat ng mga tao na may kinalaman sa ating pag-iimbestigahan, atin pong iimbitahin nang sa gayon ay kumpleto,” Alvarez said.
(We would invite all those involved to get the complete [story].)
President Rodrigo Duterte has released the matrix supposedly linking De Lima, former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan and Pangasinan Rep. and former governor Amado Espino to the illegal drug business.
Alvarez said De Lima may opt to snub the congressional probe involving her stint as justice secretary when she oversaw the national penitentiary.
The Speaker said the House committee which would conduct the probe would respect interparliamentary courtesy to allow De Lima not to attend the investigation in aid of legislation.
Owing to interparliamentary courtesy, both Houses of Congress are prohibited from conducting investigations on each other.
“Hindi naman namin siya pipilitin dumalo. Nasa kaniya yun. May tinatawag na interparliamentary courtesy. Igagaling natin yan,” Alvarez said.
(We won’t force her to attend. It’s up to her. We will respect the so-called interparliamentary courtesy.)
“Patuloy nating aalamin kung bakit lumaganap yung illegal drugs nung panahon ng pangangasiwa niya,” he added.
(We will continue to find out why the proliferation of drugs was rampant during the time [she headed the DOJ].)
Alvarez said the House probe was not intended to diminish De Lima’s credibility at a time she is conducting a Senate investigation into the spate of summary killings of drug suspects at the height of Duterte’s war on drugs.
He said his resolution called for a congressional probe on the Bilibid drug trade and not specifically on De Lima’s stint as justice secretary.
“Hindi personal ito. Bakit ba namin pepersonalahin eh kung titingnan niyong mabuti yung finile na resolution, hindi naman siya binabanggit sa resolution. Malinaw na ang imbestigasyon natin dito yung paglaganap ng droga sa New Bilibid Prison nuong siya ay nasa ilalim ng kaniyang pangangasiwa,” Alvarez said.
(This isn’t personal. Why would we take this personally, when, if you can see, the resolution was filed, she wasn’t even mentioned in the resolution. It is clear that what we’re investigating on here is the proliferation of drugs in the New Bilibid Prison under her administration.)
De LIma has vehemently denied being involved in drugs. She also called Duterte’s matrix as rubbish, and warned Duterte that he would be embarrassed to come up empty in showing evidence against her. CDG/rga
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