MANILA – Former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima received PHP3 million a month since October 2013 to allow illegal transactions inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), robbery convict Herbert Colanggo said on Tuesday.
During the House of Representatives justice committee’s inquiry into the illegal drug trade inside the NBP, Colanggo detailed that the hefty sum given to De Lima monthly served as “PR Payola” in exchange for the smuggling of contraband items inside the national penitentiary.
In his case, Colanggo was permitted to bring truckloads of equipment as well as boxes of beer inside the NBP. He sold each case of beer for PHP10,000 pesos, which originally costs at PHP700.
Colanggo said he was initially asked by fellow convict Jaybee Sebastian to engage into drug trade inside the NBP, but the former declined because of trust issues.
He was then approached by Joenel Sanchez, De Lima’s security aide, two weeks to re-establish Sebastian’s offer to support the plans of De Lima’s senatorial bid in the 2016 elections.
Colanggo’s gang accepted Sanchez’ offer and became involved in selling 10 kilos of methamphetamine hyrdrochloride, or “shabu” every month until October 2014.
Sanchez approached Colanggo again to swindle drug lords in the NBP by collecting 30 to 50 kilos of illegal drugs without payment, but the latter refused, fearing that he might be at a disadvantage once De Lima loses power.
Colanggo said his refusal led to his transfer to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as De Lima led the raid at the Maximum Security Compound in December 2014.
While he personally pleaded to De Lima to revoke the transfer in exchange of agreeing with Sanchez’ earlier request, he remained detained at the NBI for 8 months.
The Bilibid inmate’s surname had been mistaken as “Colangco” in various media reports, but his signed affidavit revealed that the real spelling is Colanggo.