De Lima, officials in Duterte drug matrix may face graft charges

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said Friday that the Department of Justice is preparing to file "graft and drug-related graft" cases against those named in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug matrix.

Abella's press conference comes after the president released the matrix on Thursday morning.

Read: Duterte's drug matrix

"They're in the process of taking the affidavits of these particular witnesses, including NBP (New Bilibid Prison) guards, inmates and former friends of these personalities," Abella said. "The charges may have to deal with graft and drug-related graft once information is verified."

Former Justice secretary Sen. Leila De Lima, who the president has accused of being the mastermind behind the drug trade in Bilibid, denied the allegations Thursday, calling the matrix "a joke."

Other officials in the matrix are former Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino Jr., former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, his brother Pangasinan Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan, retired Gen. Franklin Bucayo and Pangasinan Board Member Raul Sison.

Duterte has yet to elaborate on the exact roles of the personalities in the matrix. The matrix also does not include the drug convicts from whom De Lima allegedly received money, supposedly with the help of her former aide Ronnie Dayan.

Abella said although the matrix is based on "collected intelligence" sent to the president, "links" are still being finalized and information on alleged drug operations inside the national penitentiary are still being verified.

"As far as I know, these are the things that he has allowed to be revealed and in time it shall also be completed," Abella said.

CNN Philippines Digital Producer VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.