Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to investigate the leak of its document alleging that he has restored the lavish lifestyles of high-profile inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) who testified against Senator Leila de Lima.
In a memorandum, Aguirre instructed BuCor Director General Benjamin delos Santos to conduct the probe on the leak of the confidential memorandum dated December 9, 2016 that was issued by BuCor Legal Office chief Alvin Herrera Lim and addressed to Delos Santos.
The Secretary told Delos Santos “to immediately verify and investigate the said incident, and if warranted, to file the appropriate administrative charges to those officials and employees involved.”
Aside from being probed on his possible culpability in the leak, Lim is also facing another administrative case for presenting himself as a private lawyer in several cases before a Lucena City Regional Trial Court without permission from Aguirre.
Because of this, Aguirre ordered Lim to explain why he should not be administratively charged for “private practice of profession, despite the absence of an authority to undertake the same.”
Senator Leila de Lima has been using the leaked document as proof that Aguirre had restored the lavish lifestyles of high-profile Bilibid inmates currently detained at the facility of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Crame for testifying against her.
During the hearings conducted by the House committee on justice on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP, the high-profile inmates testified that they gave de Lima millions of pesos when she was still justice secretary in exchange for protection and special privileges.
The document addressed to Delos Santos reported about December 2, 2016 conference of the counsels of the BuCor, AFP, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) regarding the high-profile Bilibid inmates being held at the detention facility of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP) in Camp Aguinaldo.
Part of the document read: “When pressed for comment, elements of both PNP and BuCor invoked that they are just following the express instruction of the Hon. Vitaliano N. Aguirre II to allow the entry of the above-enumerated gadgets in return for the testimony they have during the congressional inquiry on the proliferation of drugs inside the New Bilibid Prisons.”
Aguirre has already denied making any order granting special privileges to the high-profile inmates.
(JEFFREY G. DAMICOG)