Jose Adrian Dera
NBI nabs De Lima’s alleged bagman
Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - August 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After two years in hiding, the alleged bagman and nephew of detained Sen. Leila de Lima was arrested yesterday by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Jose Adrian Dera, alias Jad de Vera, a co-accused of De Lima in the illegal drug case, was roused from sleep when agents of the NBI Special Task Force broke into his house in Barangay Balibago at around 5:30 a.m.

The raiders were armed with an arrest warrant issued by the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205.

The NBI placed Dera on surveillance for more than a month prior to his arrest.

The suspect, who is also facing charges of murder before a Quezon City court, denied that he is De Lima’s nephew.

But Dera admitted that he was a police asset and used to contact convicted drug lord Peter Co, who is serving time at the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa.

Dera is said to be De Lima’s former aide when she was justice secretary.

He allegedly served as De Lima’s middleman in receiving P70 million from drug lords in the NBP as well as in the alleged extortion of P30 million from Co.

De Lima, in her statement in March 2017, denied that Dera is a relative.

“He is not my nephew. He has not worked for me as an aide or in any capacity,” she said.

In his testimony during hearings at the Senate and House of Representatives in 2016, Co said he gave Dera a total of P10 million supposedly to be delivered to De Lima for her Senate candidacy.

NBI deputy director Vicente de Guzman III said they did not find conclusive evidence to link Dera to De Lima’s alleged involvement in drugs.

However, the National Prosecution Service recommended the filing of the case against him, which prompted the court to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Dera, through his lawyer, admitted he had received money from Co. But he claimed that it was used to solve his family problems.

He said he did not give any amount to De Lima.

De Lima was accused of collecting millions of pesos in drug money from Bilibid inmates.

She is being held at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City on charges of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.

De Lima has since denied the charges, saying she was a victim of political persecution. 

The senator’s camp voiced confidence that the drug cases against her will be dismissed following Dera’s arrest.

Filibon Tacardon, lawyer for De Lima, welcomed the arrest of Dera, saying he could now defend himself in court.

“This is a welcome development as we can prove that he is not a relative of Senator De Lima,” Tacardon told reporters.

De Lima returned to Camp Crame yesterday after the court granted her a two-day furlough to visit her ailing mother in Iriga City, Camarines Sur. – With Ralph Edwin Villanueva

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