By HANNAH L. TORREGOZA
Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson is cool to the proposal for a Senate investigation into the alleged “riot” that recently occurred inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) that led to the death of one high-profile inmate allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade.
It was Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV who jointly filed Senate Resolution No. 174, and sought a Senate inquiry into the alleged mismanagement and or incompetence of the Bureau of Corrections and the Philippine National Police (PNP) that led to a brawl inside the heavily secured compound.
De Lima earlier fumed at the stabbing incident that led to the killing of Tony Co, a high-profile inmate in the NBP’s Building 14, believing that it was part of the Duterte administration’s attempt to pressure inmates to testify against her.
The incident caused serious injuries to Jaybee Sebastian, Peter Co and Vicente Sy after they were attacked with sharp weapons.
But Lacson said this new proceedings would only protract the Senate’s investigation into the alleged extra judicial killings and is best left to the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to deal with.
“Ewan ko. Walang katapusan ang reso (resolutions) nila. Ang riot sa Bilibid ipaubaya na natin sa DoJ o kaya PNP (I don’t know. Their resolutions are endless. The riot inside Bilibid should be left to the DoJ and the PNP),” Lacson said in an interview over Radio DZBB.
Lacson said authorities should be left to determine who should be administratively and criminally liable or if a convicted prisoner should be given additional sentence or charged for a new crime.
“Pero para ma-involve ang Senate, parang pulitika ang tumbok. Anong legislation ang pwede maisagawa? Dapat linawin nila yan, ma-refer sa committee on justice na naman,” Lacson said.
“I don’t know how Sen. (Richard) Gordon will treat the resolution. Pero para sa akin, ano ba ito, telenovela na ba ito? Na kailangan tuloy-tuloy ang controversy parang ang patama sa administration na lang, parang ganoon na lang?,” he pointed out.
The senator said there could be conflict of interest, in the case of Sebastian who is being wooed by the DoJ to testify against de Lima in the House probe on the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs in the NBP during the time she was the Justice Secretary.
“So that’s why my suggestion is to leave the conduct of preliminary investigation to the DoJ based on the statements already brought up during the House probe. After all, most of the witnesses were presented by the DoJ,” he said.