Bilibid drug lords claim raising P20M for senator’s campaign kitty
DRUG lords detained at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) ganged up on former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima Monday, claiming that they raised P20 million for her campaign kitty when she ran for a Senate seat in May this year.
Inmates Jaybee Sebastian and Peter Co, leaders of a drug group at the NBP, testified against the senator during the resumption of the investigation by the House of Representatives’ Justice panel into the illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary.
Sebastian said he gave P10 million to De Lima, whom he claimed to have met at least eight times. He said the money was coursed through Joenel Sanchez, the former aide of the former Justice chief.
“I gave P2 million to Joenel four times, and gave P2 million to Secretary de Lima once,” Sebastian told the panel.
He recalled that on January 8, 2015, he received a text message from Sanchez telling him to raise money for the campaign of de Lima. Sebastian said he prepared P2 million and placed the money in a paper bag but a grenade-throwing incident in the Bilibid delayed the delivery of the money.
The money was eventually delivered and Sebastian said he got confirmation from De Lima that she received the money.
“I met her in [former Bureau of Corrections Director Franklin]Bucayu’s office, asked her if I will give money to Sanchez. She told me to leave it there because she wasn’t with Sanchez that day,” Sebastian said.
“There was later a phone call from Sanchez, and he told me that somebody wants to talk to me on loud speaker. It sounded like Secretary de Lima. She said, Merry Christmas, Jaybee. I replied, Merry Christmas, too Ma’am. Did you get my gift? She said, Yes, Jaybee, Merry Christmas,” Sebastian said.
Co, meanwhile, claimed that the Chinese “community” in Bilibid raised as much as P10 million for de Lima’s Senate bid. The fund raising effort reportedly started in 2012.
“In 2012, Hans Tan told me Chinese inmates in Maximum Security are asking for funds for Secretary de Lima’s Senate bid. I gave her P5 million twice. I gave the P10 million to Hans Tan so he can give it to Sec de Lima.
Tan told me he gave the money to Dayan, who receives money for de Lima,” Co said in his affidavit which was read by his lawyer, Jose Isagani Gonzales.
He was referring to Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s former driver and alleged lover.
Tan is also a Bilibid inmate who authorities tagged as one of those involved in the illegal drug trade.
Co claimed that he also gave four of his vehicles to De Lima which her camp used during the campaign period.
These four vehicles were a silver Honda Civic, a black Honda City, a black Toyota Vios and a black Innova.
Co also revealed that prior to the raising of the P10 million in March 2016, he learned from his niece Sally that his nephew and his wife and four others were arrested and that they will face charges if he fails to raise P5 million.
Co then sought Tan’s help, who got him in touch with a certain Jad who was supposedly de Lima’s nephew.
“My friend handed over P1 million to Jad in a casino. I gave another P1 million, deposited to Jad’s bank account. Also in March 2016, Jad called my niece Sally who gave him P3 million for Sec de Lima’s Senate campaign in exchange for my family’s safety,” Co said.
“After handing over P3 million, Sally and her family flew to China for fear of being kidnapped,” he told the lawmakers.
Sebastian admitted that the drug and gambling business in the NBP is so big that inmates can get P50 million a night.
“In Building 14 alone [in the Maximum Security Compound of Bilibid], it could reach P4 million to P10 million in one night. Overall [in the Maximum Security], it could reach P50 million to P100 million,” he said.
“We even have a money counter inside. An inmate, Jaime Pacho, can even lose a bet as much as P1 million a night,” Sebastian added.
He said the drug trade and the smuggling of contrabands flourished in the Bilibid because another inmate, Herbert Colanggo, was in the good graces of De Lima.
“If you see people selling drugs, why would you not do the same? If you hear another inmate loading a caliber 45 gun, other inmates would think of getting two caliber 45 guns so you will get the advantage,” Sebastian pointed out.
“The Chinese drug lords have air conditioned rooms and jacuzzi. I am a Filipino. I should also have an air conditioned room and jacuzzi,” he added.
De Lima on Monday expressed belief that Sebastian must have testified against her because he could no longer stand the pressure.
“Apparently and obviously Jaybee Sebastian has been pushed to the wall. Apparently and obviously di na niya nakayanan ang pressure (he could no longer take the pressure),” she told reporters in an ambush interview.
The senator added that she was aware that Sebastian was forced to testify against her. At first, Sebastian has refused to do so.
“That can only be the explanation. In other words, he heeded the call of his wife to testify,” she added.
De Lima said her source told her that Sebastian was the real target of the “riot” that broke out late last month inside Building 19 of the NBP where several inmates were stabbed.
Convicted drug lord Tony Co was killed, while Peter Co and Vicente Sy were injured in the brawl.
She insisted that Sebastian was a government asset because that was the information she got from for Bureau of Corrections Director Franklin Bucayu and former Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission Executive Director Reginald Villasanta.
De Lima said she doesn’t expect Sebastian to admit that he was an asset because he is being pressured to tell lies.