Feb 17, 2021 @ 23:44
Nagkita sa Bilibid: Witness claims De Lima got P1.4M from Jaybee Sebastian
MANILA – A government prosecution witness said former senator Leila de Lima received PHP1.4 million from the late high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian inside the latter’s quarters at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City known as the “bahay na bato” (stone house) during a prison gang’s anniversary celebration.
Inmate Joel Capones took the witness stand Tuesday during the resumption of the trial of the lawmaker on drug charges over acts committed when she was still justice secretary.
Capones said he transacted illegal drugs or shabu upon the directive of Sebastian because he was convinced and impressed with the latter’s apparent strong influence over the previous administration, particularly over de Lima.
“Wala na po ako magawa kundi sundin ang sinabi ni Jaybee (Sebastian) na magbenta ng droga sa Bilibid dahil maimpluwensya po sya sa (I don’t have a choice but to follow Jaybee Sebastian’s order to sell drugs inside the Bilibid because he is influential in the) NBP,” Capones told the court presided over by Judge Romeo S. Buenaventura.
He narrated that during the anniversary of the Commando Sigue-Sigue organization in March 2014, he delivered PHP1.4 million to Sebastian as quota payment of the shabu drugs that he sold at Sebastian’s quarters inside the NBP.
During the delivery, he saw de Lima went to the same place to meet with Sebastian.
Capones recalled that he personally witnessed Sebastian handed over to then secretary de Lima the money that he delivered to the alleged drug lord and heard him saying “Ma’am eto na po ang pera (Ma’am, this is the money)”.
Testifying on direct examination, Capones, confirmed that de Lima knowingly turned a blind eye on the lucrative drug dealings inside and outside of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) facility.
Sebastian pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal drug trading inside the NBP.
In his July 2020 affidavit, Sebastian confessed that he facilitated the delivery of PHP5 million between convicted drug lord Peter Co and de Lima through then Bureau of Corrections officer in charge Rafael Ragos on two occasions — in November and December 2012.
He also said de Lima’s aide Joenel Sanchez asked him to help the former justice chief raise funds for her candidacy in the 2013 senatorial elections, upon the instructions of de Lima’s former bodyguard Ronnie Dayan.
Sebastian died on July 18, 2020, reportedly due to Covid-19.
During the offer of the testimony of Capones, de Lima tried to convince him against testifying and threatened him that he will be charged with a criminal case for illegal drug trading considering that his testimony is considered as a confession of a crime.
Capones also told the court that he was introduced by Sebastian to Jad Dera and claimed that the latter is the nephew of de Lima.
He testified that Dera instructed him that he should deliver money every Wednesday and Saturday to which he complied under the belief that Dera was indeed related to accused de Lima.
The witness testified that he was able to enjoy benefits such as the installation of air-conditioning in his kubol (tent), purchase of electric scooter or bike, unhampered entry of his visitors, use and sale of illegal drugs inside the NBP, among others, with the help of Sebastian.
Capones said all his requests were granted by another accused, former BuCor director Franklin Bucayo.
The cross-examination of witness Capones will continue on February 23. (PNA)