DoJ chief says he issued lookout order to prevent senator from fleeing; De Lima insists on innocence, won’t escape
THE Department of Justice has issued a lookout bulletin order against Sen. Leila de Lima and five others linked to the illegal drug operations in the New Bilbid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.
The LBO dated October 7 also covered De Lima’s former driver and alleged lover, Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu, former Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission Executive Director Reginald Villasanta and De Lima’s former security escort, Joenel Sanchez.
Aguirre said he decided to issue the LBO based on the request of the National Bureau of Investigation though under DoJ Circular No, 41, Section 2, the justice secretary is empowered to issue a watchlist order either motu proprio or upon his or her discretion or upon the request of any government agency in connection with any probe conducted in the interest of national security, public health and public safety.
“Considering the gravity of the possible commission of any offense, there is a strong possibility that they may attempt to place themselves beyond the reach of legal processes of this Department by leaving the country,” read Aguirre’s memorandum to Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.
“We thus deem the issuance of an ILBO against the subject persons prudent in order to at least monitor the itineraries of their flight, travel and/or whereabouts,” it added.
Aguirre directed Morente to ensure that the government officials and employees “shall not be allowed to leave the country without corresponding travel authority from their heads of offices.”
He also directed the Immigration to coordinate with other concerned agencies and offices, and even airline companies since international passengers are customarily required to check-in within a specified number of hours before flight.
LBO is different from a court-issued hold departure order or HDO. The first only directs the BI to be on the lookout for the subject and to verify the status of a case against the subject person and not to restrict an individual from leaving the country.
Witnesses in a House inquiry have accused De Lima, Bucayu and Baraan of taking millions of pesos in drug money from high-profile inmates at the NBP.
Baraan left the country last August, ahead of the House’ inquiry, for health and medical reasons.
Earlier, witnesses presented by the DoJ in the House’ inquiry on the narcotics ring inside the national penitentiary claimed that De Lima, Baraan and Bucayu had received millions of pesos in drug money.
Sanchez was also tagged as De Lima’s bagman though in his testimony before the lawmakers last week, he denied collecting money for De Lima and instead bolstered allegations that she had an affair with Dayan when she was still DoJ chief.
On the other hand, Villasanta allegedly attempted to accompany Bucayu when the latter pleaded with former police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Benjamin Magalong to drop a raid at the Bilibid in 2014.