Immunity granted to six drug probe witnesses

Immunity granted to six drug probe witnesses
Photo by Rappler
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday granted immunity to six witnesses testifying at the House probe on the proliferation of drugs in the New Bilibid Prison when Senator Leila de Lima was still Justice Secretary.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said that the six witnesses including high-profile inmates of the New Bilibid Prison should be granted such before they deliver their testimonies to the panel.

Two of the witnesses belong to the so-called “Bilibid 19” or high-profile inmates.

The witnesses for the probe are: Herbert Colangco, Bilibid 19 member, Noel Martinez, Bilibid 19 member, Jaime Patcho, inmate,   Rafael Ragos, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director III and former officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Corrections, Jovencio Ablen Jr, NBI intelligence agent I and Rodolfo Magleo, former police chief inspector.

The letter by Alvarez to the witnesses reads, “I hereby grant approval for your admission with your expressed consent to the Witness Protection Security and Benefit Act under Section 12 of the aforementioned act. You shall be entitled to immunity from any and all criminal prosecution from the offense or offenses in which your testimony will be given or used and all the rights and benefits provided under Section 8 of the same law.”

The NBP is notorious for a widespread proliferation of drugs.

As Justice Secretary, De Lima lead 30 inspections of the penitentiary. Duterte alleged her of involvement with the drug trade within the penitentiary.

De Lima is claimed to have received five million in drug money. Some of which, they say, she used to fund her advertisements during the campaign.

She refused to appear before the House probe. MJM