Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday said Sen. Leila de Lima got the R300 million seized from inmates at the security compound of the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City during the raid staged on Dec. 15, 2015.
Aguirre also said an investigation is on-going to determine if other officials of the past administration were involved in the missing money.
Aguirre showed to journalists a six-page letter sent to the Office of the President last August which alleged that the missing money went to De Lima as then justice secretary.
“I did not invent this secretary De Lima…. We will take the affidavit of the one who reported this in the next House hearing on October 5,” he said.
He said an inmate and an intelligence officer will testify on the P300 million seized at the NBP during the resumption of the inquiry being conducted by the committee on justice of the House of Representatives on drugs trade during the time of De Lima.
“Yan ang sagutin mo Secretary De Lima. Masyado kang yakyak ng yakyak,” Aguirre said. “Kapag ganoon ang tao, nawawala na sa katwiran. Hindi ka pwedeng magdepensa sa sarili nang wala kang pruweba.”
Aguirre also told De Lima: “If you become hysterical and scream like that, the people will not understand you.”
He reacted to De Lima’s outburst in her press conference in the Senate where he dared President Duterte to arrest her amid allegations of benefiting from illegal drug trade in the NBP.
He asked De Lima to act like a lawyer in addressing the charges against her instead of publicly accusing the administration of coercing witnesses and fabricating evidence against her.
“You already came up with theories and speculations – as if you’re not a lawyer. That’s not how you defend yourself. You should investigate first and just state the facts,” he stressed.
He said the attacks against the administration of President Duterte are meant to divert attention to the charges against De Lima.
He also lamented De Lima’s personal attacks like his use of toupee or wig which, he said, was not relevant to the issues.
In a statement, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio who represents several inmates at the NBP said that De Lima and her raiding team took millions in cash, expensive watches and jewelries from them during the raid.
“In spite of demands both written and verbal for the DoJ (Department of Justice) to return these items to the relatives of the inmates, we were roundly ignored by her,” the statement read. (REY PANALIGAN)