MORE damning evidence against Sen. Leila de Lima will come out when the House of Representatives resumes its investigation into the proliferation of drugs at the New Bilibid Prison, a lawmaker said Sunday.
Rep. Vicente Velasco of Leyte, vice chairman of the House Committee on Justice, said a second affidavit submitted by former National Bureau of Investigation deputy director Rafael Ragos will pin de Lima.
The affidavit will be presented before the panel today.
Velasco said Ragos, in his affidavit, claimed that Ronnie Dayan, the former driver and alleged lover of de Lima, collected at least P5 million in drug money during her stint as Justice secretary.
According to Velasco, Ragos’ second affidavit alleged that Dayan got P800,000 three times from a certain Jorge Go who is a caterer of the NBP, P1.7 million from NBI agent Jovencio Ablen Jr. and P1 million from inmate German Agojo who was promised pardon for a total of P5.1 million.
Although he gave P1 million, Agojo was never pardoned.
Ragos and Ablen earlier claimed in their separate affidavits that de Lima received a total of P5 million in drug money through Dayan.
“This [affidavit]is different from the first one. This evidence bears more weight and corroborates what has been said by the others,” Velasco said in a radio interview.
“Ragos was saying [in his affidavit that]he is privy to these transactions because he was close to Secretary de Lima and Secretary de Lima trusts him very much,” the lawmaker added.
He also disclosed that Ragos claimed in his second affidavit that the latter had been accepting requests from several other inmates, including Herbert Colangco, for the staging of concerts at the NBP and for visitors to be allowed to stay inside the prison during long weekends.
“Ragos said Secretary de Lima knows about it because she doesn’t deny it when they see each other,” Velasco added.
During the last hearing of the House justice panel, Joenel Sanchez, former aide of de Lima, attested to the romantic relationship of de Lima and Dayan. He also claimed that he saw two sex videos of the alleged lovers.
But Sanchez denied being a bagman of the former Justice secretary, contradicting the previous testimonies of inmates Colangco and Noel Martinez who said that Sanchez collected drug money payola from inmates for de Lima to the tune of as much as P3 million a month.
Colangco and Martinez said Sanchez collected money upon the instructions of Dayan.
“All of what they said are not true,” Sanchez said in Filipino during the congressional probe on Thursday.
Rep. Lawrence Fortun of Agusan del Norte quizzed Sanchez:
“Are you saying that Colangco and Martinez are lying? Because if that is the case, on whose words will we hold on to?” he asked.
Fortun then cast doubts on Sanchez’s credibility, saying the latter’s testimony only detailed the alleged romantic relationship of de Lima and Dayan.
The senator has denied receiving any drug money to fund her Senate candidacy. She also denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade at the national penitentiary.
But President Rodrigo Duterte said De Lima was on top of the drug operations at the NBP when she was Justice secretary. He released a drug “matrix” containing the names of several officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade, including Dayan, former Justice Undersecretary Francis Baraan, Pangasinan board member Raul Sison, Pangasinan provincial administrator Rafael Baraan and Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino.
Duterte later apologized to Espino and Sison, saying their names were mistakenly included in the list.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre had said Filipinos will witness the trial of the century when the Department of Justice (DOJ) finished its case build up against De Lima and other individuals involved in the illegal drug trade at the NBP.
“I have fought big cases in the past, and when it comes to cases like the one involving Sen. De Lima, for sure she will get good lawyers, but the DOJ is also good. This is expected to be the fight of the century once the case is filed,” Aguirre said in an interview.
He said the DoJ is waiting for the response of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to his request regarding the release of De Lima’s bank deposits.
He said it is important to find out where the P15 billion drug money ended up.
“We will reach that point (filing) if we already have an airtight case. It is not only De Lima but also other individuals who are probably guilty,” the Justice secretary said.