By Vanne Terrazola
The Senate will resume on Wednesday, October 9, its probe on the corruption in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and the alleged involvement of so-called “ninja cops” in the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the illegal drug trade.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday that the continuation of the justice and blue ribbon committees’ marathon hearings on the NBP and PNP issues will be “explosive” as new witnesses and pieces of evidence are expected to be presented.
“I don’t know if I’m at liberty to tell you, but there is really something explosive again,” Sotto said at Talakayan sa Manila Hotel forum when asked on what to expect for Wednesday’s hearing.
He said he signed on Monday night at least five subpoena duces tecum compelling concerned agencies to submit to the Senate documents that will shed light on the controversies that they are investigating.
He added that “one or two witnesses” will also appear tomorrow.
The Senate leader, however, refused to specify which issue the witnesses and evidence are for, but said that a part of the investigation will zero in on the missing vehicles owned by a certain Johnson Lee, the Chinese national who was the target of the controversial anti-drug operation carried out by Pampanga policemen in 2013.
Major Rodney Baloyo, who was cited in contempt and was sent to NBP, will again be pressed about the 2013 Pampanga operation he led.
The 13 cops, led by Baloyo, were accused of hoarding more than 160 kilograms of the 200 kilos of shabu they seized during a drug bust in Mexico, Pampanga, in November 29, 2013. They turned over as seized evidence only some 30 kilograms of shabu.
Aside from the drugs, the policemen also allegedly did not declare Lee’s vehicles after the operation. During the October 1 hearing of the Senate justice panel, the Land Transportation Office confirmed that one of Lee’s vehicles, a 2013 model Toyota Fortuner, was sold three times in one day to hide the identity of its real owner.
Senator Richard Gordon earlier said that they will be conducting another hearing on the “ninja cops” issue due to several questions that are still unanswered by PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde, who was the former Pampanga police provincial director.
He also revealed receiving new information about the anomalous drug bust.