The House investigation on the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison has been productive in terms of establishing Senator Leila de Lima's alleged relationship with her former driver Ronnie Dayan, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said Friday.
Umali chairs the justice committee that spearheaded the investigation and held a 12-hour hearing on Thursday.
"Kasi sabi ni Leila, there are some snippets of truth to what they are accusing me of, kaya lang hindi niya sinabi kung ano 'yung totoo at hindi," Umali said in an interview on News To Go.
The supposed relationship was bared by De Lima’s ex-security aide, Joenel Sanchez, one of the resource persons in Thursday's hearing.
Umali said the establishment of the alleged affair is crucial, as it implies that Dayan’s relationship with the senator gave him power and influence over drug lords inside the national penitentiary.
He said that while it is important to know if De Lima did receive drug money from NBP inmates when she was justice secretary, it is also significant to show if there really is an affair as it would establish certain links.
In aid of legislation
Umali also said since the investigation was "in aid of legislation," they are expecting to come up with several proposed legislation from it.
"Anti-wiretapping. Sabi ni [Justice] Secretary Aguirre, bawal daw. Even if the civil rights are suspended, bawal pa rin daw. So we may have to amend that," he said.
They may also file bills to modernize Bureau of Corrections and its facilities and to “relax” the bank secrecy law.
‘All roads lead to De Lima’
Umali said there have been several investigations before to prove illegal drugs activities in NBP. However, he said all these resulted to nothing.
"Until when natin hahayaang walang mangyari sa lahat ng mga imbestigasyon? Now, we mean business, and we’re going to the bottom of this. It is just so unfortunate that all roads lead to Leila De Lima," he said.
Umali also said he is hoping that the hearing on Monday will be their last.
The panel approved a motion to hold an executive session on Monday morning to hear the testimonies of Philippine National Police deputy director for operations Benjamin Magalong and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission executive director Reginald Villasanta that involve national security.
Probe not yet over
But Umali said this does not mean Congress will stop conducting further investigations.
"Whatever our unfinished business dito sa aming pagdinig, we will farm out to the other committees and even our sub-committees to continue the reforms we need, to ensure real reforms will come into play," Umali said.
"We hope na yung taumbayan ay manumbalik yung kumpyansa sa criminal justice system," he added.
Umali said convicted kidnapper Jaybee Sebastian, who is still recovering from the wounds he sustained from the stabbing incident in NBP two weeks ago, is also expected to attend Monday's hearing.
"That’s how fair we are in the House of Representative," he said.
Sebastian, who allegedly controlled the drug trade inside the NBP, had earlier said he will file charges against De Lima and top officials of the national penitentiary for graft, violation of ethical standards for public officials and torture. [source]
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