‘Drug money missing’
De Lima-led raid of NBP yields P300m, witness says
JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday revealed that they have a new witness who can substantiate that P300 million was actually seized during the 2014 raid at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, but only P1.6 million was reported.
“Ostensibly on paper, they said they only confiscated firearms and other contraband items and P1.6 million but in reality, according to the witness, they were able to get more than P300 million in cash from that particular raid,” Aguirre said without identifying the witness.
Earlier reports said the raid, spearheaded by then Justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, resulted in the confiscation of luxury items inside the detention cells of high-profile inmates at the NBP maximum security compound, as well as firearms, cellphones, signal boosters and P1.6 million in cash.
This paved the way for the temporary transfer of 19 high-profile inmates to the detention facility of the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila.
But Aguirre said the proceeds from illegal drug transactions at the national penitentiary easily ran into the hundreds of millions of pesos, adding that 75 percent of all drug transactions in the country came from the NBP.
At a House hearing on the proliferation of illegal drugs in the NBP, Philippine National Police deputy chief for operations Director Benjamin Magalong said De Lima had prevented the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group from taking part in that raid.
Magalong said his men and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency were supposed to be part of the raid, but it was eventually carried out only by the Bureau of Corrections and the PNP-National Capital Region Police Office then headed by Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo, who was one of the five “narco-generals” tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Aguirre said he wanted to know why only P1.6 million was reported and where the money went.
Several inmates presented by Aguirre in the House’ inquiry claimed the raid was conducted to ensure that Jaybee Nino Sebastian, who allegedly collected drug money for De Lima, would have a monopoly on the drug trade in the NBP.
The witnesses said Sebastian has ordered them to sell illegal drugs to raise funds for De Lima’s senatorial campaign in the May 9 elections, a claim that the former DoJ chief has strenuously denied.