The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday filed criminal complaints against Sen. Leila de Lima and 17 others at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with their alleged involvement with the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.
NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin said the charges were for violation of Sections 5, 26 (b), and 27 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act 9165), qualified bribery (Revised Penal Code) and Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019).
De Lima was also accused of violating Presidential Decree 46 or An Act Punishing the Receiving and Giving of Gifts of Public Officials and Employees and Section 7 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713).
Also charged with direct bribery were former Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) chief Franklin Jesus Bucayu, former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan 3rd, former Bucor officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos, de Lima’s former security aide and Presidential Security Group Member Joenel Sanchez, de Lima’s former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan, Ragos’ close-in aide and NBI agent Jovencio Ablen Jr., Bucayu’s alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli, Justice department employee Jesusa Francisco, de Lima’s personal assistant when she was Justice secretary, Lyn Sagum, Julius Rejuso and an alias George.
Also included in the charge sheet were high-profile Bilibid inmates Jaybee Sebastian, Herbert Colanggo, Engelbert Durano, Vicente Sy, Wu Tuan Yuan alias Peter Co and Jojo Baligad, who were accused of selling and distributing illegal drugs.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd said the complaint will be consolidated with the other case filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
The NBI based the complaint on the sworn documents, statements and testimonies of several resource persons, including Sebastian and other inmates who took part in the inquiry of the House of Representatives last month.
Aguirre formed a five-man panel of prosecutors to conduct the preliminary investigation of de Lima.
The former Justice secretary said she was not surprised by the NBI’s move.
“Like their propensity for manufacturing lies, the filing of charges is fast becoming a bad habit for them. They just won’t quit until they destroy me,” she told reporters.
De Lima maintained that the evidence against her were either manufactured or fabricated.
“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I repeat that I stand by my innocence because I only speak the truth. I shall in the proper time confront my accusers before the proper venue,” the senator said.