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Leila: Sebastian a gov’t asset

Sen. Leila M. de Lima yesterday revealed that high-profile inmate and drug lord Jaybee Sebastian was a government asset during the Aquino administration’s anti-drug campaign.

In a hastily-called press conference, De Lima categorically said “yes” when asked if reports are true that Sebastian was a government asset.

Sebastian was not touched when De Lima launched a raid inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City during her time as Secretary of Justice in 2014.

“The reason I’m saying that he’s an asset is to dispel malicious insinuations that the reasons why he was not among the ‘Bilibid 19’ (who were transferred jail cells) was because he was favored and protected and that he was collecting money for me,” De Lima explained to reporters.

When pressed for more details, De Lima, however, said she would rather that Sebastian answer the allegations himself in case he decides to appear at the House probe.

Besides, other witnesses have been targeting Sebastian to testify against her.

“Let him address that. If he wants to testify, let him address that,” De Lima said adding that she would no longer be surprised if the drug lord testifies against her.

“But just to dispel those insinuations that the reason why he wasn’t transferred is because he was in cahoots with us,” she said. “But the truth is he was working with us, sharing information to us,” she pointed out.

De Lima also disclosed she has transferred to a temporary residence due to security reasons.

She said she’s mulling legal actions against her detractors after her contact number and home address were made public during the House probe.

“I have to temporarily leave my house and I’m now in a temporary place of abode. I’m not the only affected, because I live in a subdivision. Even if there are guards, the whole subdivision is affected,” she said.

“I’m mulling over several actions, including (filing a) writ amparo, habeas data. I’m a subject of persecution and I’m no longer safe. I don’t feel safe. The truth is, I’m not safe,” she said.

De Lima said she is considering asking the Senate leadership, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel II, for additional security since she feels she can no longer depend on law enforcement authorities to secure her safety.

“Can I rely on government authorities in government? Can I rely on the Philippine National Police (PNP) for my security? Can I rely now on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for my security? I’m referring to them as institutions. Can I rely on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as an institution? I think you know the answer to that already,” De Lima said.

She also dismissed anew calls for her resignation. “Should I? I’m the one they are persecuting for non-existent accusations and then I will be the one to resign?” she asked.

“I don’t want to speak further, I might say something else and they (Duterte followers) would just all the more get enraged,” she lamented. (HANNAH L. TORREGOZA)