MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on justice plans to wrap up its probe into the drug proliferation at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) on Monday, October 10, but not before putting star witness Jaybee Sebastian on the hot seat.
Influential NBP gang leader Sebastian is included in the list of witnesses to be presented by the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the hearing. A copy of the list was obtained by Rappler from the office of House committee on justice chairperson Reynaldo Umali last Tuesday, October 4.
Apart from Sebastian, the witnesses include:
- Vicente Sy, high-profile inmate who is part of the so-called “Bilibid 19”
- Reynante Diaz, the talent manager of Herbert Colanggo, another “Bilibid 19” member
- Rafael Ragos, former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge
- Reginald Villasanta, Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission executive director
Sebastian had long been implicated since the beginning of the probe last month, with witnesses claiming that he was a favored inmate by former justice secretary and now senator Leila de Lima. (Read the wrap of the past 3 hearings on days 1, 2, and 3)
Sebastian supposedly helped collect millions of drug money from within the national penitentiary to fund De Lima’s 2016 senatorial bid.
His attendance was confirmed by current DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II in an interview with reporters.
“Yes, Jaybee Sebastian will be there on Monday,” he said.
The DOJ secretary also did not buy De Lima’s claim that Sebastian is a government asset.
Both Sebastian and Sy were injured in a recent riot at the NBP’s Building 14, an incident which Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez suspected was allegedly planned to stop Sebastian from testifying.
Actress Rosanna Roces was also named during the October 5 hearing for allegedly being the mistress of Sy. While she denied the accusation, she admitted she brought women inside the NBP.
The House panel has conducted 3 hearings so far, with all witnesses linking De Lima to the illegal drug trade at the NBP.
She has been accused of coddling drug lords, using aides as bagmen, and even benefiting from drug money outside the NBP – claims that the senator has denied. (READ: The public trial of Leila de Lima)
De Lima, the fiercest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, was also accused by the latter of having an illicit affair with her former bodyguard and driver Ronnie Dayan, one of her alleged bagmen.
De Lima and Dayan’s supposed sex videos were originally planned to be shown during the probe, but Aguirre decided to forego publicizing the clips following backlash from women’s rights advocates and lawmakers.
Instead, Aguirre presented before congressmen a former security aide of De Lima, who described in detail the contents of the two alleged sex tapes that he said he saw on Dayan’s phone.
The DOJ is already set to issue a lookout bulletin order (LBO) against Dayan for failing to appear at the House investigation despite a subpoena.
An LBO will allow authorities to monitor flights, travel, and the whereabouts of the subject. Those on the LBO list are required to notify the DOJ before leaving the country.
House committee on justice members plan to cite Dayan in contempt for ignoring the subpoena. – Rappler.com
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