MANILA, Philippines- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said on Monday, September 19 that government officials higher than former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima may have been involved in the illegal drug trade at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) during the Aquino administration.
“Sa ngayon po ay si [former] Secretary de Lima lamang ang pinakamaatas na opisyal ng gobyerno nung nakaraang administrasyon [ang dawit] pero ‘di po yan matatapos dyan sapagkat mayroong nagsasabi na ito ay tataas pa bukod kay de Lima. Pero sa ngayon po ay premature pa iyan sapagkat ang aming imbestigasyon ay patuloy pa,” Aguirre said.
(As of now, de Lima is the highest government official from the previous administration allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. However, that is not yet final since there is an ongoing investigation regarding allegations that there are higher officials involved. But right now, the information could be premature since the investigation is still ongoing.)
Ex-BuCor Head, Colangco, Inmates to Testify against De Lima
Former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos is set to testify that De Lima received millions in drug money which he personally delivered to the former Justice Secretary’s house.
Ragos, a former top official of the BuCor and NBI Deputy Director for intelligence, reportedly executed an affidavit indicating that he delivered P5 million to the house of De Lima.
Aside from Ragos, high profile inmate Herbert Colangco and more than 10 inmates serving time at the NBP will testify that De Lima received “campaign funds” from illegal drug operations inside NBP as early as 2011.
De Lima has since denied the accusations and emphasized that she will not attend the House probe, calling it a “sham inquiry”.
“I will not even send any representative, lawyer or even an observer. I’m not at all recognizing that proceedings. It is a sham inquiry with no objective other than to demolish or destroy me, upon orders of the president,” De Lima said.