Are we in for some bombshell from “protagonists” President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Lilia de Lima? It seems the bickerings will linger for sometime.
As the government initiative on the war on drugs continue, Duterte on Tuesday said that Malacañang is now in possession of a matrix that shows the alleged role of former Justice Secretary, now Senator de Lima, in the so-called “Muntinlupa Connection” being ran out of the New Bilibid Prison.
In an ambush interview at the Palace, the President said that De Lima was the highest ranking public official in the matrix that he intends to divulge to the public in a week’s time.
“I will show to you maybe this week the matrix, I am just validating it. Matrix ng Muntinlupa connection nandun si De Lima actually. The matrix show her role there,” Duterte said.
He said that another former ranking DOJ official and a governor is also in the matrix.
“Ngayon alam ko na, alam na nang lahat. When I go after the matrix malalaman na ninyo. There is also a governor you know. He is my friend (and) I could not believe it. But nandyan sya sa revelation; and an Undersecretary,” he said.
When pressed by media if he was referring to Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III as the DOJ official, the President said “yes.”
The President, however, did not name the governor involved.
Meanwhile, the lady senator on Tuesday said that being linked to the multi-million pork barrel scam case involving business woman and alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles was unfair, stressing that she herself handled the cases as Justice Secretary.
“That’s a rehashed issue. Why do they keep digging old issues? Who is responsible for the detention of Napoles? Then they link me to Napoles? That’s too unfair,” De Lima said in a mix of English and Filipino.
De Lima reacted following President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier announcement to re-investigate the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam case involving Napoles and some senators.
Duterte also claimed that he received information about a De Lima’s phone conversations between her and her driver Ronnie Dayan that revealed her links to illegal drug trade in Bilibid Prison.
The said conversation also provided information on their ATM records, Duterte said.
This led Congress to call for a probe on the senator’s alleged involvement in illegal drug operations inside the prison.
De Lima, however, maintained that she was never involved in drugs.
“The Committee on Justice conducted also a series of hearing twice or thrice inside Bilibid. We had an ocular inspection with the Congressional committee last Dec 15 2014,” the former Justice Secretary said.
“I initiated it (the probe) so why will they investigate me? I found a way to expose the drug problems there. Don’t they know that I exerted certain efforts, steps after discovering all of those inside Bilibid?” she added.
De Lima refused to dwell on the topic saying that she did not find a “legitimate matter” for the purpose of the inquiry.
She meanwhile vowed not to let the allegations against her affect her work at the Senate.
“I’ve always been strong. I’m used to confronting a lot of challenges,” she said. (PNA report by Cielito Reganit and Azer Parrucha)