House committee holds executive session on Bilibid drug trade
The House of Representatives justice committee on Monday held an executive session on the alleged proliferation of drugs at the New Bilibid Prison.
The committee called for an executive session upon the request of Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Director Benjamin Magalong and former Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission Reginald Villasanta fo find out what they know about the drug trade.
Bilibid inmates claimed that Senator Leila De Lima, when she was justice secretary, protected kidnapping-for-ransom convict Jaybee Sebastian to operate the drug trade to raise campaign funds for her.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raid led by De Lima without the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) was intended to pull out 19 high-profile inmates alleged to be Sebastian’s competitors in the drug trade.
It was Magalong who earlier testified about the botched Oplan Cronus, which was sidelined by the “Oplan Galugad” that was led by De Lima in Dec. 2014.
The Oplan, crafted by the CIDG under the helm of Magalong, was aborted when it was not given the go-signal by De Lima, who instead led an NBI raid that exposed the lavish quarters of drug lords inside the Bilibid.
However, then Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Franklin Bucayu said Sebastian was spared in the December raid upon the consensus among the BuCor, De Lima, the NBI and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.
Bucayu said this was to prevent a “vacuum of leadership” and avoid a riot in the Bilibid. He said Sebastian was left behind temporarily to maintain peace in the Bilibid as a more manageable and cooperative gang leader.
De Lima had also said Sebastian was a government asset in the raid. RAM/rga
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