MANILA, Philippines-Crime kingpin Jaybee Sebastian told members of the House during a congressional probe on the illegal drug trade inside the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) on Monday, October 10 that he gave Senator Leila De Lima at least P14 million in drug payoffs in 2014.
According to Sebastian, he remitted portions of the drug payoffs to De Lima’s former bodyguard Junel Sanchez, whom he alleged as the lover of the female senator. Sebastian believes that the two were in a relationship since he saw them holding hands and calling each other “sweetie” at one instance. Moreover, Sanchez apparently referred to De Lima as “sweetie” in a text message he mistakenly sent to Sebastian.
Sebastian narrated that he got links to Sanchez since he was friends with the son of a fellow Bilibid prisoner. Meanwhile, Sanchez reportedly introduced Sebastian to De Lima in 2011, while the latter was still serving as the secretary of Justice.
In his narration, Sebastian claimed that it was only three days after the December 2014 raid that he was asked by Sanchez to give drug money for De Lima’s campaign.
“Tatlong araw matapos ang nasabing raid, kami ay nagkausap ni Junel Sanchez at isa sa aming napag-usapan ay tutal naman ako lang and naiwan sa Maximum Security Compound tulungan ko raw sa pondo sa darating na eleksyon si DOJ Secretary,” Sebastian explained.
Soon after that conversation, Sebastian remitted P2 million to De Lima through Sanchez. De Lima reportedly thanked Sebastian for the “Christmas gift” through a phone call the next day.
During De Lima’s visit at the NBP on January 8, 2016, Sebastian said he personally gave De Lima another P2 million at the office of former Corrections director Franklin Bucayu.
However, Sebastian said he faced problems with the illegal drug trade in the prison and was only able to collect funds for De Lima’s campaign by March 2015. He allegedly gave a total of P10 million for De Lima’s campaign from March until May.
His monthly quota contribution was apparently raised by Sanchez to P5 million, which he failed to meet in the months of June and July. This allegedly prompted De Lima to order his transfer to the NBP Building 14. The said facility houses 19 high-profile inmates captured during the 2014 raid.
Sebastian, who was among the four inmates injured at a stabbing incident at the NBP last week, intends to file a charge against De Lima for “gross inexcusable negligence and violations of the anti-torture law”.
De Lima Will Not Leave the Philippines
Following the issuance of a memorandum directing Immigration officials to restrict the travel of De Lima as well as her former driver Ronnie Dayan, her former bodyguard Joenel Sanchez, former DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan II, former Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu and former Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) Executive Director Reginald Villasanta, the lady senator claimed that she has no plans of leaving the country to escape issues haunting her.
“Sa ngayon, wala akong intensyon na umalis ng bansa, lalo na ang intensyon na takasan itong mga nangyayari. Kahit ganyan ang ginagawa nila sa akin, hinaharap ko po yan lahat, ‘yang mga ginagawa nila sa akin, dahil ayaw ko po magpakita ng kahinaan,” De Lima said.