MANILA, October 13, 2016 (PNA) — Former ranking officials of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) today filed another drug trafficking complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Senator Leila De Lima.
Former NBI deputy director for intelligence services Reynaldo Esmeralda and deputy director for special investigation services Ruel Lasala specifically charged de Lima and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge and NBI Deputy Director Rafael Ragos for violation of Section 5, in relation to Section 26 (b) of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The said provisions prohibit the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical.”
Under the said law, the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine ranging from ₱500,000 and ₱10 million shall be imposed on any person who will be found guilty of the offense.
The complaint was filed in connection with allegations that de Lima, during her term as Justice Secretary, conspired with Ragos to benefit from the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the NBP in Muntinlupa City.
Sen. De Lima, acting as the mother of all drug lords and through the use of her authority, was able to appoint and designate men inside the Bilibid in order to ensure the perpetuation of illegal drug trade… Respondents definitely saw how profitable the system established in the Bilibid at that time. Like hungry wolves, they took advantage of their power, influence and resources,” the 20-page complaint read.
Ragos, who earlier testified before the House of Representatives inquiry on the matter, confessed that he personally delivered millions of pesos in drug money to de Lima’s residence in Parañaque City in several instances in 2012 and handed the money to her aide and reported lover Ronnie Dayan.
Atty. Eduardo Bringas, lawyer of Esmeralda and Lasala, said Ragos was included as respondent in the charge sheet despite being granted immunity by the House justice committee.
“His immunity was with regard only to the statement he gave. But there is corroborating witness, Ablen, that’s why we included him,” he noted.
Ragos confirmed the statement of witness NBI agent Jovencio Ablen Jr. and NBP inmate Jojo Baligad who alleged that the respondents “acted in conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade.”
Esmeralda said as early as 2012, they already had information on the delivery of drug money to de Lima in her house in Parañaque City through Ablen.
”Si Ablen ang unang nag-update sa amin dun sa impormasyon na yun thats why built up the case. Wala kaming nilapitan basta hinawakan lang namin yung mga yunng mga impormasyon na yun,” Esmeralda told reporters after filing in DOJ main office in Manila.
Esmeralda and Lasala were dismissed on 2014 by de Lima from their positions due to “lingering integrity issues.”
The two denied that they filed the complaint in retaliation.
”Kaming dalawa ni Esmeralda ay nagpapasalamat kay then Secretary de Lima na tinanggal niya kami nung panahon na yun kasi nakita ko kung hindi kami natanggal nung 2014 ang laki ng possibilidad na ngayon kasama kami sa demandang ito,” Lasala said.
It was the second complaint filed against de Lima in connection with the NBP drug trade. The first one was filed last Tuesday by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
The VACC complaint named as respondents de Lima, former DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, former BuCor chief Franklin Bucayu, de Lima’s former aides Ronnie Dayan, Joenel Sanchez, and Jose Adrian Dera, Bucayu’s alleged bagman Wilfredo Ely, and high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian.
DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday confirmed that the agency will conduct a preliminary investigation on the drug trafficking charges filed by the VACC. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA)