Latin America

Duterte matrix to reveal De Lima’s role in Muntinlupa drug trade

Pia Ranada

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Duterte matrix to reveal De Lima’s role in Muntinlupa drug trade

Toto Lozano

President Duterte says he will reveal this week a matrix showing the illegal drug operations inside the New Bilibid Prison, a matrix which involves De Lima, a governor, and a justice undersecretary

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima is the highest public official in a matrix of illegal drug trade in Muntinlupa prison that President Rodrigo Duterte plans to reveal in the coming days.

“I will show to you maybe this week the matrix – bina-validate ko lang yung matrix ng Muntinlupa connection. Nandoon si De Lima sa matrix,” said Duterte during an ambush interview with Palace reporters on Tuesday, August 23. 

(It is being validated, the matrix of the Muntinlupa connection. De Lima is there in the matrix.)

The matrix supposedly shows the illegal drug trade operations within the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa and the personalities involved.

De Lima, alleges Duterte, plays a key role in the supposed “Muntinlupa Connection.” (READ: De Lima: I exposed drug use in Bilibid, why probe me?)

“It will show her role there. Alam na namin. Ngayon, alam ko na. When I go out with the matrix, malaman nyo,” said Duterte.

(We know. Now, I know. When I go out with the matrix, you will know.)

The President declined to elaborate on the matrix, saying all will be revealed when he goes public with it.

But he said former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III is in the matrix. Baraan served as the supervisor of the Bureau of Corrections and the New Bilibid Prison during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

A governor who Duterte is friendly with also supposedly plays a part in the illegal operations. 

“There is also a governor involved. He is my friend, but I could not believe it. There’s a governor and an undersecretary,” said the President.

Duterte is also expected to reveal another list of government officials involved in the illegal drug trade.  

His time frame for releasing the matrix coincides with the recently concluded first Senate investigation into extrajudicial killings linked to his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs. The inquiry was led by Senator De Lima.

Before the start of the probe, Duterte blasted De Lima for “immorality” and accused her of having an affair with her driver who he says is involved in illegal drugs. 

De Lima shot back, accusing Duterte of “character assassination” and unfairly using his power to silence voices of dissent. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.