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The testimony that stood out above all other testimonies in the House probe on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) was that of General Benjamin Magalong, currently the Deputy Director General for Operations of the Philippine National Police and formerly the Chief of the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
We all lauded the then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for the unprecedented raid of the NBP that exposed the systemic crimes inside the national penitentiary. We all agreed that the bold move of transferring the so-called Bilibid-19 to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention facility was necessary to pave the way for reforms at the NBP.
After hearing the testimony of General Magalong at the House probe, we are most likely disappointed, to say the least, about what appears to be self-centered political schemes of some of our government leaders.
The exclusion of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the NPB raid last December 14 is one issue that Senator De Lima should speak about.
Was General Magalong also “forced to tell lies” against Senator De Lima? General Magalong appeared and sounded to be very credible. He did not speak of any direct accusations, particularly against Senator De Lima but his testimony raises a lot of questions that she can best answer.
As things stand now, the decision of then Justice Secretary De Lima to exclude the CIDG and PDEA (except for PDEA’s K-9 dogs) from the December 2014 NBP raid is damaging her now because it supports the testimonies of other witnesses on her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade in the NBP.
The raid is now put into question because those involved in planning the operation that was executed and those who led the execution of the plan itself are persons who are now being questioned for their involvement in either the illegal drug trade in the country or in corruption at the Department of Justice, Bureau of Corrections and NBP.
Another damaging aspect of the NBP raid is the “exclusion” of prison inmate and drug lord Jaybee Sebastian, who is allegedly “connected” to Senator De Lima, from those who were “arrested” during the raid.
These “exclusions” tell a lot of stories about the extent of our country’s problem not only on illegal drugs but also on the government itself. (Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate)