De Lima assails transfer of 10 Bilibid convicts to PH Marines detention center

Published September 7, 2019, 12:48 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Jonathan Hicap

Detained Sen. Leila de Lima has scored the transfer of 10 high-risk and high-profile convicts from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa to the detention facility of the Philippine Marines in Taguig City last June.

FACING ARREST – Senator Leila de Lima is in fighting form in this photo taken at a press conference in the Senate last Tuesday. A regional trial court on Thursday ordered her arrest. (Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin)

President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that he ordered their transfer, suspecting that de Lima still had allies in Bilibid, and if the prisoners will testify against her, they would be killed.

Seven of the 10 are potential witnesses of the government against de Lima in three drug cases she is facing in Muntinlupa courts. They are Hans Anton Tan, Peter Co, Jojo Baligad, Vicente Sy, Froilan Trestiza, Nonilo Arile and Joel Capones. The other three who were transferred are Chua Che Ket, Rico Caja and Allan Senogat.

“So, in Duterte’s twisted mind, I’m that powerful! So powerful that I can actually command my alleged NBP ‘allies’ to harm or assassinate their fellow inmates! This is insanity in its most diabolical form!” de Lima said in a handwritten statement.

De Lima is facing three cases of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade in two Muntinlupa courts, allegedly done during her time as justice secretary.

She said that “it should be clear to everyone that this latest presidential inanity is but another move aimed at perpetuating their biggest lie or grossest myth – na ako daw ay sangkot sa ilegal na droga, na ako daw ang ‘no. 1 drug lord’ o ‘leading narco-politician’ sa bansa!”

“Ginoong Duterte, sobra nga talaga ang takot mo sa akin. Itigil mo na ang panloloko mo sa bayan! Tama na ang pang-aabuso mo sa akin!” the senator added.

De Lima said that the true reason why the convicts were transferred was because the prisoners will be used to testify against her in the trial of her drug cases.

“Aminin nyo na lang kasi na ang totoong dahilan sa paglipat nyo sa mga convicts-witnesses na yan sa Philippine Marines HQ ay ito: For you and your equally evil operators to further control these witnesses in terms of pinning me down in the drug cases against me. Malapit na kasing isalang sa witness stand ang mga convicts-witnesses na yan sa ongoing trial in my drug cases,” she said.

She added, “You need to strike more clandestine deals with them to ensure my conviction. You need to give them further special treatment in exchange for falsely testifying against me, if not to further threaten, coerce and pressure them into standing by their grossly fabricated tales about me. In sum, more orchestrated lies!”