De Lima, 7 others face drug complaint before DOJ

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption has filed a criminal complaint against Senator Leila De Lima, and her alleged cohorts, over their supposed involvement in the drug trade inside the national penitentiary.

VACC President Dante Jimenez filed the complaint for violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act at the Department of Justice on Tuesday.

De Lima and her alleged cohorts are facing raps for the sale of drugs and conspiracy.

Related: De Lima: I am not the queen of Bilibid drug trade

"From kidnapping, naging kidnapper, tapos naging illegal drug trader. Anong penalty yon? Patatabain mo na naman. It's really an insult. Insult yan sa mga victims of heinous crimes," VACC President Dante Jimenez told reporters after filing the complaint.

[Translation: From kidnapping — the inmates went from being kidnappers to illegal drug traders. What sort of penalty is that? You're just fattening them. It's really an insult to the victims of heinous crimes.]

The former justice secretary's co-respondents in the complaint are:

- Francisco Baraan (former DOJ Undersecretary)

- Franklin Bucayu (former Bureau of Corrections Director)

- Ronnie Dayan (former driver and body guard of De Lima)

- Joenel Sanchez (former security aide of De Lima)

- Jose Adrian Dera aka Jad De Vera (supposed nephew of De Lima)

- Jaybee Sebastian (Bilibid inmate)

- Wilfredo Ely (alleged bagman of Bucayu)

Jimenez said De Lima and her alleged cohorts used their position to promote and benefit from the drug trade inside Bilibid from 2012 to 2016.

He pointed out De Lima had clear motive to receive money from drug lords.

"Because then secretary De Lima was planning to run for senator," Jimenez said.

The complaint is based on testimonies of witnesses who testified in the Lower House probe on the Bilibid drug issue.

These include former BuCor OIC Director Rafael Lagos, and high-profile inmates Herbert Colanggo and Rodolfo Magleo.

Jimenez says the witness testimonies are enough to prove the respondents' involvement.

"Ang amin dito, aside from the testimonies, the DOJ being the investigating power, ang pakiusap namin sa kanila kumpletuhin na nila to," Jimenez said.

[Translation: For us, aside from the testimonies, the DOJ being the investigating power, we request that they complete the evidence.]

When asked why other inmates, who admitted they also sold drugs, are not included in the complaint, Attorney Ferdinand Topacio explained these inmates were coerced.

"Tinakot sila sapagkat uniform ang sinasabi na kapag di ka nakisama sa sinasabi ni De Lima, pag di ka sumunod kay Jaybee Sebastian, either ipalilipat ka ng kolonya or sa hindi magandang facilidad, or ipapapatay ka," Topacio, who represents the VACC, explained.

He is also legal counsel to some of the inmates who testified against De Lima.