No ‘moro-moro’ in House probe of Bilibid drug trade — solons
Leaders in the House of Representatives maintained that tomorrow’s probe on the proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) will not be a scripted demolition job against Senator Leila De Lima.
In a press conference on Monday, deputy speakers South Cotabato Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez and Palawan Rep. Frederick Abueg refuted claims that the probe would be in retaliation for De Lima’s investigation of alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration.
The House hearing seeks to look into the proliferation of drugs at the NBP during De Lima’s term as justice secretary.
De Lima in the last Senate hearing presented confessed hitman Edgar Matobato who accused President Rodrigo Duterte of ordering the Davao Death Squad (DDS) to kill his critics and rivals when he was mayor of Davao City.
“This is purely concentrated on the National Bilibid Prison. This is in aid of legislation. This is in no way to persecute anybody,” Hernandez said.
Abueg said the inquiry would seek to reinforce anti-drug laws, not persecute De Lima.
“We are duly elected representatives of our respective districts. We are public officials, and we are doing this in aid of legislation. We are not just a private body seeking persecution of anyone,” Abueg added.
Hernandez denied allegations that the hearing would be a “moro-moro” even though the House of Representatives is dominated by a “supermajority” of lawmakers aligned with the Duterte administration.
“If the hearing is moro-moro, is scripted, e ‘di dapat alam na namin ano ang lalabas,” Hernandez said. He added, “We cannot conduct this in a partial and biased manner, dahil may legislation na na dapat baguhin.”
Surigao Del Norte Rep. Robert “Ace” Barbers, chair of the House dangerous drugs committee, said his panel might join the investigation into the Bilibid drug trade.
The Bilibid drug probe on Tuesday will be led by the House justice committee upon the resolution of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“There is really a need to investigate this event. The former secretary now senator De Lima has said over the national media that there were indeed drugs, firearms, and all other contraband inside the Bilibid. So, bakit nag-proliferate ito?” Barbers said.
“Bakit nangyayari ito? Dahil ba may kasabwat, may nakapikit, may hindi nagsisiyasat? Yun ang dapat natin tingnan,” he added.
Asked what he expected from the House probe, Barbers said: “Palagay ko hindi lang mayayanig kung naka-upo (si De Lima). Malalaglag pa sa upuan.”
The investigation was prompted by Alvarez’s House Resolution 105 which sought a probe into the proliferation of drug syndicates at the NBP during the term of De Lima as justice secretary. Alvarez is a close ally of the President.
President Duterte had tagged De Lima in a drug matrix and accused her of earning from the Bilibid drug trade, an allegation De Lima vehemently denied.
De Lima, during her term as human rights commissioner, investigated then-Mayor Duterte for his links to the DDS, which was allegedly responsible for killing suspected criminals in Davao city.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has said high-profile inmates and high-rank government officials would testify against De Lima for allegedly receiving kickbacks from drug lords through her alleged lover and driver Ronnie Dayan.
Aguirre has named robbery and drug dealer convict Herbert Colangco and National Bureau of Investigation deputy director Rafael Ragos as among the high-ranking witnesses to testify against De Lima./rga
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