20 witnesses lined up against De Lima—DoJ
THE Justice Department will present some 20 resource persons and witnesses before the House of Representatives, which is set to investigate the proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
“There is a flood of information,” said Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who said he continues to interview witnesses to sift through the details and to build up their case against Senator Leila de Lima, whom President Rodrigo Duterte has accused of taking money from drug lords detained at the national penitentiary.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Minority Leader Danilo Suarez sought a congressional investigation after Duterte implicated De Lima, who was Justice secretary under the Aquino administration, in the illegal drug trade.
The investigation will be conducted by the House committees on justice, public order and security and illegal drugs.
Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali said Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s alleged former lover and driver, would be a principal resource person during the hearing.
De Lima has said she would not appear before the House inquiry.
On Sunday night, police and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested the sister-in-law and niece of former Agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala, in a buy-bust operation in Leveriza Subdivision in Tayabas City.
Quezon Provincial Police Office Director Antonio Yarra identified the suspects as Maria Fe Abutin Alcala and her daughter Toni Anne. Some 24 sachets of shabu worth P212,000 were seized in the operation.
Yarra said Maria Fe is the wife of Cerilo Alcala, the younger brother of former Agriculture secretary Alcala and incumbent Quezon Second District Rep. Vicente Alcala.
In Quezon City, police said Monday they consider the killing of the sister of actress Maritoni Fernandez, Ma. Aurora Moynihan, a drug-related murder case.
In an interview, Sr. Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said Moynihan, who was found with bullet wounds to the chest, had four sachets of shabu and drug paraphernalia in her possession. Her body was found on Temple Drive and Giraffe Street near the Corinthian Garden village at dawn Saturday, with a piece of cardboard that said “drug pusher ng mga celebrities kasunod na kayo (drug pushers of the celebrities, you’re next).”
Eleazar said they were digging deeper into allegations that Moynihan is a supplier of drugs to showbiz personalities.
In Davao City, a criminal case filed against Maguindanao Vice Mayor Abdulwahab Sabal and three others linked to the night market blast was submitted for resolution.
Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, head of the Justice Department’s national prosecution service, disclosed that there will be no more preliminary investigation of the case for illegal possession of firearms, explosives and dangerous drugs against Sabal, wife Mohanna Sabal and bodyguard Nasser Maulana and driver Norodin Abas.
The four were subjected to inquest proceedings Saturday after authorities arrested them at the Awang Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat.
Aside from charges of illegal possession of firearms, explosives and dangerous drugs, the four are facing separate investigation about their possible involvement in the Davao City bombing last week.
In Caloocan over the weekend, at least six people, five of them allegedly involved in illegal drugs, were killed in separate incidents, police said.
The report identified the victims, as Mark Anthony Gonzales, 27, dog trainer, and Danica Sobrapiña, 21, jobless, Arnold Denaga, vendor, Richard Pangilinan, Daniel Albano, construction workers, and Berdado Valeganio, 37. With Rio N. Araja and Jun David