Bilibid drug lord to testify vs De Lima, says DOJ chief

Kristine Daguno-Bersamina - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Friday that convicted drug lord and robbery gang leader Herbert “Ampang” Colangco will testify against Sen. Leila De Lima at the congressional inquiry next week.

“There are 10 to 12 high profile inmates that will testify, kasama si Colangco dun,” Aguirre said in a phone patch interview.

President Rodrigo Duterte identified Colangco as one of the two drug lords already behind bars but are still directing operations of their crime groups.

“Colangco never try to go out of prison. You will die,” Duterte said, warning Colangco upon the start of his anti-narcotics campaign in July.

Colangco, who has been serving time at the maximum-security compound since 2009, had been tagged in several bank robberies in Metro Manila since the early 2000s and was linked to the Parojinog drug syndicate and Kuratong Baleleng gang. His name was in the matrix presented by Duterte with alleged links to the Bilibid narcotics trade.

Others in the drug matrix were De Lima, as the highest ranking official and her driver, Ronnie Dayan.

Colangco got the public attention two years ago when he became an artist inside the New Bilibid Prison. Calling him “Bilibid Idol,” the inmate's album recorded inside the national penitentiary reached the platinum status only two months after its release.

The DOJ chief said other officials, who include a former director of the National Bureau of Investigation, will also testify against De Lima.

De Lima earlier said she will not attend the Congress probe since she does not expect to get a fair treatment at the congressional hearing. 

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