JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday said that the evidence linking Sen. Leila de Lima to the illegal drugs trade in the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) so far is strong enough to file a case against her.
”Based on testimonial evidence of witnesses presented (in the House of Representatives inquiry) so far, we can already have a very sufficient case,” he said.
”We can actually file a case in court at this point because we have enough evidence already,” he revealed.
He disclosed that cases for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) and Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) could be filed against De Lima.
Aguirre believes that if probable cause is established by the DoJ upon preliminary investigation, non-bailable cases could be filed against the senator. And should the prosecutors prove the charges in court, he said De Lima may be up for conviction with life imprisonment as sentence.
”If the testimonies of these witnesses are proven, then that means non-bailable, capital offense and life imprisonment against her,” he stressed.
Aguirre cited statements of high-profile inmates led by robbery and carnapping convict Herbert Colanggo, who said that they gave millions of payola to De Lima and that fellow high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian tapped them to sell drugs from prison to raise funds for De Lima’s senatorial campaign last May.
He stressed that the testimony of Police Director Benjamin Magalong, the chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), showed that De Lima planned a “staged” raid was equally damning.
”The testimony of Director Magalong was really shocking. It’s very clear that they pre-empted Oplan Chronos to give way to their own plan. He proved that the raid was conducted so Jaybee Sebastian could monopolize the drug trade,” Aguirre said.
The DoJ chief, a veteran litigation lawyer, said they are now working on gathering additional documentary evidence to further strengthen the case against De Lima.
”We still need documentary evidence like bank records, that’s why we’re asking for assistance of the AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council),” he pointed out.
Aguirre said they have requested the AMLC for bank documents that could possibly link De Lima to the drug money from the NBP drug trade.
The AMLC has forwarded to the DoJ several documents, but Aguirre said there are still additional documents needed for the probe.
”We will make another request with AMLC (for additional documents),” he said.