• Baraan still in the US

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    Former Justice undersecretary Francisco Baraan 3rd, who was linked by President Rodrigo Duterte to the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, has not returned to the Philippines, the Department of Justice said on Wednesday.

    Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes said Baraan was supposed to arrive on Oct. 23 but verification with the Bureau of Immigration revealed that he has yet to return to the country.

    Baraan’s son earlier admitted in his Twitter account that his father went to the US for health and medical
    reasons a few days before the House of Representatives started its investigation into the alleged illegal drug trade at the national penitentiary.

    Duterte tagged Baraan and several officials of Pangasinan province as part of the drug matrix at the NBP.
    Frank Baraan gave assurances that his father will face the allegations against him.

    “He will face all allegations and issues against him in a real court of law — not in a court of ‘trial by publicity’ — if and when somebody actually files formal complaint against him,” he said.

    The older Baraan was a close confidant of former Justice secretary now Senator Leila de Lima.

    Duterte also linked De Lima to the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary. Several convicts who testified at the House inquiry claimed that De Lima received millions in drug money for her campaign kitty.

    The President also identified Baraan’s brother, Rafael, administrator of Pangasinan, Board Member Raul Sison and former governor and now Rep. Amado Espino as among those involved in the drug trade. However, Duterte later apologized to Espino for being included in the drug list, saying his inclusion was not verified.

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