De Lima hits 2 ex-subordinates, defends 2 others

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Sen. Leila de Lima on Thursday blasted two former officials of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) while rushing to the side of two of her former subordinates being linked to illegal drugs.

In an interview with Senate reporters, De Lima, a former Justice secretary, brushed off threats made by former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala to implicate her in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.

“That’s an absolute lie. Again, that’s a complete fabrication. Again, yang dalawang iyan may axe to grind. Kasi nga, hindi ba in my privilege speech, mga iba-ibang forces na siguro ito, gumagamit ng mga agents of vengeance,” she said.

De Lima suspected the two former NBI officials have resurfaced because her name is once again being dragged to the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam.

“It’s [former] President [Benigno Aquino III] who fired them, but I confirmed to the President that they have very bad record in the NBI. Sobrang galit ang mga yan sa akin, yang dalawa na yan. I can tell you that,” she said.

De Lima earlier said the two were removed from their posts due to “lingering integrity and trust issues” especially after they were accused of tipping off alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles about her arrest warrant.

Meanwhile, De Lima defended former Justice Undersecretary Francis Baraan III and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu, who had been identified along with her in a drug matrix revealed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

De Lima insisted that Baraan has no direct charge and supervision over operations at the NBP and other penitentiaries under the jurisdiction of BuCor.

“I can confirm that explanation of his—I confirm na as Usec. in charge of BuCor, he has limited administrative supervision over BuCor,” said De Lima.

“Naaalala ko nga, halos hindi yan sumasama sa akin yan dun sa mga raids ko, dun sa mga ocular inspection ko,” she added.
De Lima also branded as “very malicious” the inclusion of Bucayu in what she described as “trash matrix.”

“Umiiyak na yung pamilya niya kaya nag-resign na lang. And now, ang sabi na naman dito sa matrix kunong ito, because of alleged involvement. Nadawit na naman yung tao na nag-resign na nga. Paano na naman yung napi-feel ng pamilya niya?” De Lima said.

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