By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated October 10, 2016 - 5:21pm
MANILA, Philippines — High-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian claimed Monday that he raised campaign funds from the Bilibid drug trade for former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima's senatorial bid in the May 2016 elections.
Sebastian testified on Monday during the resumption of the House of Representatives committee on justice's inquiry on the proliferation of the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
According to Sebastian, De Lima's former security aide Joenel Sanchez asked for his help to raise election funds a few days after a raid in the penitentiary on Dec. 16, 2014.
"Tatlong araw matapos ang nasabing raid, kami ay nagkausap ni [Joenel] Sanchez at isa sa aming napag-usapan ay 'tutal naman ako lang ang naiwan sa Maximum Security Compound, tulungan ko raw sa pondo sa darating na eleksyon si DOJ (Department of Justice) secretary," Sebastian said in his sworn statement.
Sebastian was the only one left at the maximum security compound of the NBP while the other inmates, called the "Bilibid 19", were transferred to the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation after the raid.
The Bilibid inmate claimed that he gave P2 million to Sanchez a few days before Christmas of 2014.
"Kinabukasan tumwag sa akin si [Joenel] at sinabi niya na 'Pare may kakausap sayo nakaloud speaker ka.' May narinig ako sa kanilang linya na boses ng babae na kanoses ni Secretary De Lima at sinabi niya sa akin na 'Jaybee Merry Christmas' at sumagot naman ako na 'Merry Christmas din po mam, natanggap nyo po ba ang regalo kjo sayo?' at sumagot si Secretary na 'Yes Jaybee, Merry Christmas,'" the statement read.
Sebastian said he prepared P2 million for De Lima hours before a grenade exploded in the national penitentiary on Jan. 8 2015.
"Habang ako ay naghihintay na ipatawag ni [Joenel] at ni Secretary De Lima ay may naghagis ng granada malapit sa lugar ko na siyang naging dahilan ng pagkamatay ng isa sa aking mga kakosa at pagkasugat ng 19 sa kanila," Sebastian said.
Sebastian said that he was then escorted to the office of former Bureau of Corrections director Franklin Bucayo to talk with De Lima. He was instructed to bring the paper bag with the money intended for the then Justice Secretary.
De Lima and Sebastian discussed the explosion during their meeting in Bucayo's office, according to the statement.
"Noong paalis na ako, sinabi ko kay Secretary De Lima na 'Ma'am, may ibigay ako sayong pera paano to? Kay [Joenel] ko ba iabot ito?' Sumagot naman si Secretary De Lima na 'Hindi ko kasama si [Joenel] ngayon, iwan mo nalang dyan,'" Sebastian claimed.
One of the "Bilibid 19" who was transferred under the custody of the NBI was reportedly responsible for the explosion in the penitentiary, according to Sebastian.
Sebastian also claimed that De Lima had a relationship with Sanchez, which the latter quickly denied during the House inquiry.