PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday shot down prison gang leader Jaybee Sebastian’s request for a meeting in which the inmate planned to spill the beans on the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.
“I do not talk to criminals,” Duterte said when asked if he would grant Sebastian an audience. “He can go to the fiscal if he wants,” he added.
Sebastian’s lawyer, Eduardo Arriba, earlier said several government officials would be implicated by Sebastian’s tell-all.
Arriba however said his client wanted to disclose the information to Duterte alone.
“If our President is not interested in what Jaybee intends to disclose, we will respect it. The President has the right to turn him down,” Arriba said on Friday. “But my client won’t talk to anyone.”
Sebastian figured in Wednesday’s stabbing incident that left one convicted crime lord killed and three others injured inside the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa.
The President said the convicts deserved what they were going through, as they “asked for it” when they got involved in drugs.
“Hiningi ninyo lahat `yan [You asked for it] … I said be careful of what you wish for or what you want because you might get it,” Duterte told reporters in Davao City after returning from a two-day trip to Vietnam.
“Dreaming of money. Living in filth … at the expense of your fellow human beings. It will come, as always, the comeuppance and the law of karma. I assure you, that is a very valid universal statement,” he added.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd also said he won’t talk directly to Sebastian.
“I’m willing to talk to his lawyer, but not Jaybee. Even if I talk to Jaybee, he will still be represented by a lawyer otherwise whatever he says will be inadmissible in court,” Aguirre said.
Sebastian is a potential witness in the congressional probe into the Bilibid drug trade in which former Justice secretary Leila de Lima, now a senator, was allegedly involved.
Aguirre said Sebastian previously expressed willingness to cooperate with investigators, but clammed up.
Sebastian has another request: to be moved away from the most-secured Building 14 of the New Bilibid Prison after recovering from his injuries, as he fears for his life after Wednesday’s bloody brawl.
Building 14 houses 38 prisoners, including the so-called “Bilibid 19” or high-profile inmates.
Aguirre said the DoJ “will consider the request if it’s for his security.”
Sebastian and three Chinese inmates were injured while Chinese convict Tony Co was killed in the stabbing incident.
Sebastian, who is in a Muntinlupa hospital, denies that a brawl took place.
In a four-page affidavit, he claimed that he was watching television at the Building 14 mess hall when he was attacked by another inmate, Tomas Donina, for no apparent reason.
Aguirre said on Wednesday a brawl erupted at 7:40 a.m. that day after inmate Edgar Cinco caught Vicente Sy and Peter and Tony Co having a shabu session inside a cell.
Cinco supposedly told Clarence Dongail, a former police officer, what he saw, and the latter confronted the trio, Aguirre said.
Sy and the Cos sought Sebastian’s assistance, sparking more tension. Dongail was allegedly attacked by Tony Co with a knife, Aguirre said.
Also on Friday, a prison official said one high-profile inmate in Building 14 tested positive for drugs.
The prisoner was identified as Raymond Dominguez, a convicted car theft gang leader serving 30 years in jail. He was among 34 inmates who took drug tests on Thursday as part of the probe into Wednesday’s brawl.
“He will still undergo confirmatory test,” said Rolando Asuncion, officer in charge of the Bureau of Corrections, in a telephone interview.
If the test results are confirmed, Dominguez will face new charges and disciplinary action, Asuncion said.