The National Bureau of Investigation yesterday filed charges against Sen. Leila M. de Lima and 17 others in connection with their alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.
According to the NBI, the respondents led by De Lima, accused by President Duterte of receiving money from drug lords, violated the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs of 2002 (Republic Act 9165), Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019); Presidential Decree (PD) 46 Punishing the Receiving and Giving of Gifts of Public Officials and Employees; Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6173), and Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code (direct bribery).
The 11 other respondents are former Bureau of Corrections Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu; former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III; NBI Deputy Director Rafael Maros Ragos; De Lima’s former close-in security Joenel Sanchez, De Lima’s former driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan; NBI agent Jovencio Ablen Jr.; Bucayu’s alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli; Baraan’s former subordinate Jesusa Francisco; De Lima’s secretary Lyn Sagum; Baraan’s alleged bagman Julius Rejuso; and De Lima’s alleged bagman known only as alias “George.”
High-profile inmates Jaybee Sebastian, Herbert Colanggo, Engelbert Durano, Vicente Sy, Wu Tuan Yuan, alias “Peter Co,” and Jojo Baligad, who testified on the sale and distribution of illegal drugs at the NBP punishable under RA 9165, were also charged.
The charges filed by NBI spokesperson spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin and NBI Anti-Illegal Drugs Division chief Atty. Joel Tuvera were based on the report of the NBI investigation on the illegal drugs trade at the NBP.
De Lima yesterday maintained her innocent of the charges.
“I’m no longer surprised when this administration files trumped-up charges against me. Like their propensity for manufacturing lies, the filing of charges is fast becoming a bad habit for them. They just won’t quit until they destroy me,” De Lima said in a statement.
“It was very clear from the very start that the evidence leveled against me in almost all forums has always been manufactured, fabricated, and the product of fantasists. Even the testimonial and documentary evidence presented during the House hearing on which the NBI has based its charges has shown nothing but fantastic lies and fairy tales linking me to the drug trade,” De Lima said.
“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I repeat that I stand by my innocence because I only speak the truth.
I shall in the proper time confront my accusers before the proper venue,” she reiterated.
(Jeffrey G. Damicog, Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos, and Hannah L. Torregoza)