‘Leila got millions from NBP drug lords’

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Leila de Lima collected millions from high-profile inmates in New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City when she was still justice secretary in the previous administration.

This was the common allegation raised by several inmates in their affidavits submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Drug and robbery convict Herbert Colangco revealed that the Carcel Side, a coalition of gangs of inmates from the Visayas and Mindanao which he leads, had given De Lima P3 million per month.

Carcel is one of the two factions of inmates in the national penitentiary with over 7,000 members belonging to the Oxo Allied Group. The other is the Presidio Side led by drug convict Jaybee Sebastian with over 5,000 inmates, mostly from Luzon.

In a four-page affidavit obtained by The STAR, Colangco explained that the amount was for “payola” to then DOJ secretary De Lima “para sa pribilehiyo sa amin at para maipagpatuloy din ang mga negosyo sa Bilibid (for privileges accorded to us and also for our businesses inside the NBP to continue).”

“Sa tantiya ko po, ang umiikot na halaga ng droga sa loob ng Bilibid sa pagpayag ni secretary De Lima bago pa kami ilipat sa NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) ay hindi bababa sa limampung milyong piso kada buwan (By my estimate, the amount of illegal drug trade inside the NBP upon permission of secretary De Lima before we were transferred to NBI would not be lower than P50 million per month),” bared the self-styled musician who even managed to produce music videos inside the penitentiary.

Apart from illegal drug trade, Colangco confessed that he also ventured into selling beer inside the NBP during De Lima’s time.

He said he was allowed to sell beer in can to thousands of inmates during events at NBP for more than 10 times the original price per can and would earn P3 million for 300 boxes.

“Ang share ni secretary De Lima sa pag-aapruba sa pagpasok nito ay P1 million. Ito po ay dinadala ng tao kong si Rey sa DOJ o kinukuha ng tao ni secretary De Lima na si Joenel Sanchez (kasama sa security ni De Lima) at ng kanyang boyfriend na si Ronnie Dayan (secretary De Lima’s share for approving the entry of beer was P1 million. It was either delivered by my courier Rey to DOJ or picked up by secretary De Lima’s security aide Joenel Sanchez and her boyfriend Ronnie Dayan),” Colangco further alleged in his notarized affidavit.

Colangco, head of the notorious Ozamiz robbery gang, recalled that when he and other high-profile inmates were transferred to the NBI in 2014, Sebastian then had a monopoly of illegal drug trade and other illicit activities inside the NBP.

“Ang hindi susunod sa kanyang gusto ay tinatakot na ipapatapon. Naniniwala ang mga tao sa loob ng Bilibid na pwedeng gawin ito sa kanila ni Jaybee Sebastian dahil alam nila ito ay malapit kay secretary De Lima lalo na sa boyfriend nito na si Ronnie Dayan (Those who will defy him were warned to be thrown away. People in the NBP believe that he is capable of doing that because he is known to be close with secretary De Lima, especially with her boyfriend Ronnie Dayan),” he added in the sworn statement signed last Sept. 1.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has confirmed that Colangco, fellow drug convict Noel Martinez and about 10 other inmates would testify before the House of Representatives inquiry on the proliferation of illegal drugs in the NBP.

He revealed that eight of them have been transferred to the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) custody for fear of their lives inside the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City.

Aguirre said some of the witnesses have bared in separate affidavits that they have collected money from illegal drugs since 2013 to support the senatorial bid of then secretary De Lima. 

The DOJ chief hinted that there is also a witness who delivered P5 million to De Lima’s house in Parañaque City, which was allegedly personally received by the senator and Dayan.  

Aguirre added that they also received information that De Lima, wearing a disguise, visited the NBP eight times and would go directly to the “kubol” of Sebastian.

He said a letter from Sebastian would be submitted to the House on this matter.

Aguirre earlier alleged that secretary De Lima brought out “coached witness” Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a former member of the Davao death squad, in a desperate move to preempt the “explosive” testimonies and evidence to be presented against her in the House probe that will start on Tuesday.

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