30 witnesses vs de Lima in House probe

30 witnesses vs de Lima in House probe

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MANILA, September 19, 2016 (PNA) — A total of 30 witnesses and resource persons, including a former officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), will appear Tuesday before the Congressional panel investigating the alleged involvement of Senator Leila de Lima in the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa.

In a press conference today, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aquirre II said former BuCor OIC Rafael Z. Ragos, who was appointed by then-Justice Secretary de Lima from 2012- 2013, will be one of the resource persons.

Aguirre said according to Ragos, he delivered money collected from the illegal drug trade in the NBP personally to de Lima during his time as BuCor Chief.

”Si OIC Raffy Ragos na naging bureau director yan noong panahon ni Secretary de Lima magtetestify siya sa several instances na nagdeliver sya ng P5 million sa bahay ni Secretary de Lima, mismong si Secretary de Lima ang nakareceive at may kasama po yan another NBI agent kaya dalawa sila tetestigo at magpapatunay na si Secretary de lima ay tumanggap ng P5 million on two deliveries,” Aguirre told reporters during the press conference held at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila.

Aguirre said Ragos made his affidavit after he was confronted when his driver-escort Junior Ablen, who is also still with the NBI, testified on the delivery of money from drugs.

”Unang-una nagsalita yun ang kanyang NBI escort/Driver Junior Ablen kasama sila magdeliver niyan confront namin siya tungkol dun sa statement ni Ablen at sinang-ayunan niya yung pahayag ni Ablen,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre said high-profile inmates set to testify are convicted robber and drug dealer Herbert “Ampang” Colangco and kidnapper Noel Martinez, head of the Genuine Ilocono group.

The two belong to NBP’s Maximum Security Compound. Colangco was included in the drug matrix earlier presented by President Rodrigo Duterte.

”We will be presenting at least 30 witnesses and resources persons on Day 1 alone to establish the why, the how, the where, the when, and most importantly, the who and the how much on the proliferation of prohibited drugs in our prisons,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre said the witnesses will give details on how they collected money from the illegal drug trade in the NBP and how they forwarded the money to de Lima, who then used it in her senatorial bid.

He said that DoJ fully supports Duterte’s war on drugs.

”To attain the foregoing ends, the perpetrators and those responsible for the drug trade should find nothing but prosecution and punishment under our laws,” he said.

“One area of concern for us is the proliferation and the escalation of the drug trade in the National Penitentiary. We believe that this will not have happened if the persons in charge and those in authority did their jobs. Apparently, the drug trade in the BIlibid Prisons had the consent and was condoned by the these people,” he added.

”To find out the truth, the DoJ will actively participate and will fully cooperate in the investigation on the proliferation of illegal drugs and other prohibited items in the National Bilibid Prisons,” he said.

The probe will be conducted by the Committee on Justice, House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 20, at 9:30 a.m. at the House of Representatives. (PNA)




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