IN THE KNOW: Witnesses against De Lima
Convicted kidnappers and murderers submitted affidavits to the House of Representatives in its investigation of the illegal drug trade in New Bilibid Prison (NBP), purportedly with the blessing of Sen. Leila de Lima while she was justice secretary in the previous Aquino administration.
Noel Martinez, whose kidnapping case is pending appeal in the Supreme Court, has been the commander, or “bosyo,” of the Genuine Ilocano Group of inmates at NBP since 2011.
In his sworn affidavit, Martinez said that in February 2013, Jaybee Niño “JB” Sebastian, leader of Commando group, asked him to help in the centralization of drug selling in NBP to generate funds for the senatorial campaign of De Lima.
Jaime Patcho, leader of the Batman group, also said in his sworn affidavit that in January 2015, he was asked by Sebastian to help in the drug trade for De Lima’s senatorial bid funds.
Jojo Baligad is detained at the medium security compound for murder in 2001. He was an adviser of the Batang City Jail (BCJ) group.
In his sworn affidavit, Baligad said that in January 2013, his group occasionally paid a “tara” to then Bureau of Corrections officer in charge Rafael Ragos in exchange for a lenient inspection inside the compound during a raid that resulted in the discovery of a wide array of contraband.
A former police officer, Froilan Trestiza is serving reclusion perpetua at the medium security compound for kidnapping in 2002. He was the commander of BCJ when he was jailed at the maximum security compound in 2011-2013.
Trestiza said in his sworn affidavit that his group gave payola to Danilo Rico Martinez, whom he initially met as a pastor of a religious volunteer group but later identified himself as a consultant of De Lima.
Hans Anton Tan, detained at NBP since 2010, said in his sworn affidavit that he is serving a life sentence for murder in 2001. He is a member of Sebastian’s Commando group.
Dismissed Navotas police inspector Rodolfo Magleo and six others were convicted in 2004 for kidnapping veterinary student Niño Lorenzo Tobiano in 2001. The son of a businessman was driving in Malabon on Aug. 2, 2001, when armed men in police uniforms blocked his car and kidnapped him. Magleo’s gang threatened to behead Tobiano unless his father delivered a P53-million ransom.
Tobiano was brought to Tarlac and was kept inside an empty septic tank for seven days until he escaped and sought police assistance.
Magleo is the chair of the Kalasag organization, a group of former officials detained at NBP. Inquirer Research
Sources: Supreme Court, Sworn affidavits of Martinez, Patcho, Baligad, Trestiza and Tan submitted to the House of Representatives’ committee on justice
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