UNLIKE other witnesses, inmate Engelberto Durano yesterday claimed that he directly gave P1.5 million to Sen. Leila de Lima, then Secretary of Justice (DoJ).
Testifying at the House inquiry on the alleged drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), Durano said sometime between November and December 2014 he met De Lima inside the “kubol” of high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian.
According to Durano, he was instructed by Sebastian to remit to De Lima the money which came from selling shabu inside the national penitentiary.
The P1.5 million was placed in a shoebox wrapped with gift wrapper, Durano added.
Durano, a former police officer, convicted for kidnapping and murder, was presented by the Department of Justice, along with other witnesses who confirmed the drug trade inside the NBP.
“Nang papalapit pa lang kami kay secretary ay napansin ko na na nakatingin sa amin si Secretary De Lima. Pagpasok ko sa opisina ng BTV-3 ay nakita ko na naroon din si Jaybee Sebastian at Hans Tan,” Durano said.
“Inabot ko na kay Secretary De Lima ang kahon na may lamang P1.5 million at sinabi ‘Ma’am, ito na po.’ Kinuha ito ni Secretary at inabot sa lalaking sumalubong sa akin,” Durano added.
During the interpellation, Durano spoke in Visaya describing De Lima as “malanding matanda.”
Meanwhile, Durano said, he met Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s driver-lover, who eventually sought money from him in exchange for “protection” for his “business” inside the penitentiary.
Dayan also asked him to help De Lima who is then planning her senatorial bid.
Expanding the drug business in jails, Durano said he introduced Dayan to Jeffrey Diaz (alias Jaguar), who was into drug trade in Cebu.
“Bandang January 2014, sinabihan ko si Jaguar tungkol sa protection money at lubos na naging interesado si Jaguar sa nasabing alok ni Ronnie,” he said.
He disclosed to the committee that the transaction of the two had reached P27.3 million as shown by the deposits in Banco de Oro accounts.
Durano and another witness, Nonilo Arile, were earlier given immunity by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Diaz, tagged as the No. 1 drug lord of Central Visayas, was killed by policemen in a shootout in Las Piñas City last June 17.