Take the testimonies of Sebastian, 2 generals

Efren Danao

Efren Danao

An honest-to-goodness quest for truth demands that all sides must be heard. So, may we expect the House Committee on Justice to subpoena Jaybee Sebastian to testify before the panel?

Sebastian, leader of the “Commando Gang” at the National Bilibid Prison, has been front and center in the ongoing House inquiry into the trafficking of illegal drugs at the NBP. He has been named by leaders of other prison gangs as the solicitor of drug money allegedly for the campaign of then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre told the House panel that they asked Sebastian to testify but only on the issue of catering. He said Sebastian refused and wanted to talk about everything he knew on drug trafficking at the NBP.

It will be a travesty to the search for truth and justice if Sebastian’s testimony will be limited to what Aguirre and the DOJ want. Allow him to talk about everything that he personally knows. Don’t confine his talks to catering, or his alleged closeness to De Lima. After all, as the committee chair Rep. Rey Aldo Umali said, the inquiry isn’t directed at Senator De Lima.

The committee can refute claims that it is a kangaroo court against De Lima by allowing Sebastian to execute his affidavit and testify without the participation of Aguirre and the DOJ. So far, all resource persons who have appeared before the panel were all witnesses of Aguirre. Was he really a government agent who informed the DOJ on the extent of drug trafficking inside the prison walls? Was he really that close to De Lima?

There’s a completely valid reason why the House panel should limit the participation of Aguirre. President Rodrigo Duterte had already made strong pronouncements on the issue and personalities involved. Since Aguirre is an alter ego of the President, he’s not expected to produce evidence or witnesses that could prove the President wrong.

To allay suspicions that the committee is under the thumb of Aguirre and the DOJ, it should no longer allow Aguirre to monopolize the proceedings. In the last two hearings, members of the committee were given only a few minutes to ask questions because Aguirre used up most of the time interrogating his own witnesses.

It’s also about time that the House Committee on Justice bring in its own witnesses or resource persons instead of relying completely on Aguirre and the DOJ. On this issue, it should summon former Deputy Director-General Marcelo Garbo of the Philippine National Police, former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayo, and retired Gen. Reginald Villasanta, former head of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission. They should be asked why the NBP raid planned by Gen. Benjamin Magalong, then head of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, was abandoned.

Magalong, now deputy director-general for operations of the PNP, dropped a bombshell at the House hearing when he said that De Lima proceeded to raid the NBP without his participation. Magalong is a highly respected career officer and nobody can say that he’s allowing himself to be used against anybody. However, what if it’s true, as claimed by De Lima, that the DOJ already had a plan before Magalong presented his? What if it’s true that personal clashes prevented Magalong’s plan from seeing fruition?

None of the high-value prisoners presented by Aguirre saw money being given to De Lima. A Bureau of Corrections OIC axed by De Lima and an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation did testify that they personally delivered P5 million to De Lima at her Paranaque residence in 2012. However, Aguirre said they didn’t have enough evidence to file charges against her.

Even without charges being filed, unfortunately, her reputation is already soiled. This goes true to her former clerk who was falsely reported to have deposited P24 million in her account? And how about the so-called “narco-generals?” They’ve been named and shamed but no charges have been filed against them. Ah, but they’re luckier than the suspected drug pushers who were killed for allegedly resisting arrest.

All right-thinking Filipinos want President Duterte to succeed in his war against illegal drugs. And just because a vocal few want this campaign to be waged in a civilized, lawful way doesn’t mean they’re supporting those engaged in drugs. I hope this could be understood by the millions of Duterte admirers.



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  1. Efren Danao: “Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre told the House panel that they asked Sebastian to testify but only on the issue of catering. He said Sebastian refused and wanted to talk about everything he knew on drug trafficking at the NBP.”

    Looks like you are twisting facts here Mr. Danao. I watched the hearing and what was said there was opposite to what you are trying to say here. It was Sec. Aguirre who disapproved Jaybee Sebastian’s wished to limit his testimony only to the alleged corruption in food supply at the NBP, and not the other way around. According to him, what he wanted is for Jaybee Sebastian to tell all.

    Be that as it may, I have little faith on convicts testifying against each other because all of them have axes to grind. They will go after each others’ throat anytime and anywhere just to stay above the rest. I also don’t buy Sec. Aguirre’s statement that those convicts wanted to help Pres. Duterte’s drug war, much the same way I don’t buy Sen. Delima’s lame excuses to keep herself afloat. Both of them are actually just playing their cards in line with their own respective interests. Sec. Aguirre supporting his President and Sen. Delima trying to save herself.

    For me, the hearing just showed us how rotten is our penal system and how corrupt our officials can be. Perhaps we can rely on the info those convicts were sharing as to how they did their ‘business” inside the Bilibid, but as to pointing fingers I doubt very much they can be relied upon without any additional evidence to support their claims. Maybe we can get some sense using the NBI agents’ testimonies and Gen. Magalong’s statement. But that’s all it is for me and nothing more.

  2. If you are criticizing duterte’s anti-drug war, It does not mean that you are supporting the drug criminals, but it can mean also that you are supporting the drug criminals because you want duterte to fail which is the wish of the drug criminal supporters..

  3. Jaybee Sebastian wants to talk about catering. Maybe he wants to say that shabu is in the food they eat. Let him talk. “The fish is caught by the mouth.”

    He can be exonerated from ALL his crimes real or imagined if he testifes about it.

  5. Mr Magno instead of spending our time and emotions on this never ending saga let us not beat around the BUSH and put De Lima on trial. Her crime are so destructive causing massive drug addiction. Here is a challenge for Duterte’s supporters on this posting. Let us go to next reasonable and legal level to file charges against De Lima. We are wasting our emotions continuing this unending drama on an ineffective investigation of congress and senate and making up our own Conclusion including our own interpretation. Mr Aguirre according to him has enough evidence to prosecute De Lima and put her in Jail. De Lima’s CRIME are so heinous and probably deserved the capital punishment. Rather than consuming ourselves with conspiracies and speculation and dirt why don’t we put all the witnessess under examination in the court of LAW. There is only ONE CONDITION I request the Duterte Administration, the whole court proceedings should be TELEVISED and the Supreme Court should select a three panel Judge. Congress can codify this especial proceedings into Law that if De Lima is found guilty she will be sentence to life Imprisonment without Parole or if Duterte and his supporters have GUTS they can ask Congress to put her to DEATH. This is fair for everybody and if De Lima is found guilty Fair and Square, Duterte Wins and finish this saga This to me has the maximume shock value for Duterte supporters and satisfy their primal desire. This actually will help Duterte’s war on DRUGS by eliminating the “QUEEN” of Drug Lords. DO YOU HAVE GUTS MR MAGNO and take the lead on your COLUMN. We need your support. If Duterte HAS COURAGE AND GUTS and willing the solve the drug menace HE should put De Lima to DEATH in front of his 90,000,000 Filipinos supporters. That would satisfy his program to eradicate DRUGS once and for all

  6. A lot of the millions of duerte followers will not have a word said against him. They will act & dote on his every word. Would they need evidence after duertes word to convict someone, no never i a month of sundays. It seems they dont care if they lie cheat or whatever just as long as de lima is jailed as how dare she quetion duerte or his motives or actions. I think many people will quietly go along with his every word as they dont want to be his next target. & with duerte insulting so many world leaders the filipino people may all live to regret this in the not to distant future.

  7. And just because a vocal few want this campaign to be waged in a civilized, lawful way doesn’t mean they’re supporting those engaged in drugs. I hope this could be understood by the millions of Duterte admirers.

    People that admire shooting unarmed people suspected of a crime are morons and can not or will not understand
    If they could understand the value of the constitution they wouldn’t be a bunch of fanatical morons.

  8. This is the worst reporting in history. You need to be fired. Sebastian was only willing to testify about the catering and nothing else. This is embarrassing!