The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed multiple charges against Sen. Leila de Lima and 17 others allegedly for bribery and proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
This was the fourth string of criminal charges filed against De Lima, a former Justice secretary, that includes drug trafficking, qualified bribery, graft and several others.
Seventeen more respondents, including former DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan, former Bureau of Corrections Heads Francis Bucayu and Rafael Ragos were named along with the senator in the charge sheet.
The investigators accused the former officials of receiving huge sums of money from several high-profile inmates, either directly or through their conduits. Joenel Sanchez, De Lima's former aide and former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan were also not spared from the charges.
Despite the immunity granted by the Lower House, Jaybee Sebastian, Herbert Colanggo, Vicente Sy, Peter Co, Jojo Baligad, and Engelbert Durano are also charged in the case. When asked about the immunity, NBI Spokesperson Ferdinand Lavi said the inmates' immunity "only covers instances where they incriminate themselves."
But other inmates also named them to be involved in the illegal narcotics trade inside the national penitentiary.
"We have interlocking confessions. Sanga-sanga itong confession. Yung sinabi nung isa vinalidate nung isa [What is said by one is validated by another]. Corroborated nung isa. We believe we have a good case," Lavin told CNN Philippines showing their confidence the case.
"Tuloy-tuloy itong imbestigasyon [The investigation will continue]. As a matter of fact we may be called during the preliminary investigation to further bolster our evidence," he added.
Meanwhile when the senator was approached for her comments regarding all the charges, De Lima said she was not surprised to know all the false charges against her.
"Like their propensity for manufacturing lies, the filing of charges is fast becoming a bad habit for them. They just won't quit until they destroy me," De Lima said in her statement.
She also added that all the evidence, including testimonies, was all fabricated to accuse her with false allegations. But, she will stand by her point and said that she has nothing to do with the illegal drug trade.
"NBI has based its charges has shown nothing but fantastic lies and fairy tales linking me to the drug trade. I repeat that I stand by my innocence because I only speak the truth," she added.