The national penitentiary was the “drug trade center of the Philippines” during the term of Senator Leila de Lima as secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ), an inmate told lawmakers at a hearing on Tuesday.
Rodolfo Magleo, a former police officer and a convicted kidnapper, was the first witness to testify during the hearing of the House of Representatives on the alleged illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.
“Naging drug trade center of the Philippines po during the time of then Secretary De Lima, dahil sa Bilibid maximum security compound, doon po ang trading ng drug business sa buong Pilipinas,” Magleo said, answering questions from Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
Magleo said Chinese, Malaysian and Hong Kong nationals convicted for drug trafficking were in cahoots with Filipino drug convicts at the maximum security compound to manage the distribution of illegal drugs.
“Maraming Chinese nationals, Malaysian nationals, Hong Kong nationals na nakulong na drug lords and they have their respective Pinoy drug lords in charge of local operation,” he said.
“Some big-time drugs lords outside [the NBP] ay nago-order from Bilibid. Sa loob mismo ng maximum security compound ay maraming droga,” Magleo added.
Magleo said the illegal drug trade is done through phone calls and text messages, adding that during De Lima’s term, about 80 percent of inmates at the NBP maximum security compound were using cellphones.
Magleo said among the big-time drug lords in the NBP are Peter Co, Ben Marcelo, Jackson Lee, Ang See, Jimmy Ang and Alex Tien.
Further, Magleo said the NBP maximum security compound is also called “Little Las Vegas” during De Lima’s term as DOJ Secretary.
“During the tenure of De Lima, the maximum security compound was called the Little Las Vegas. It was called Little Las Vegas dahil maraming concert na nangyayari, your honor,” Magleo said.
“Not just ordinary concerts but concerts of famous celebrities, like Freddie Aguilar, Sharon Cuneta, Mocha Girls, Ethel Booba… some other celebrities, hindi ko na po maalala,” he added.
De Lima has denied involvement in illegal drugs and has called the House hearing as a “sham” hearing. —KBK, GMA News