Senator Leila De Lima still hasn’t gotten over Senator Richard Gordon’s decision to invite two of the witnesses in her drug trafficking case to the Senate hearing on the alleged anomalies inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) last month.
De Lima said Saturday (October 5) that senators must be more discerning about the character of witnesses they invite to Senate hearings as she lauded the decision to cite in contempt BuCor officials Benilda Bansil and Veronica Buño.
Bansil and Buño were ordered detained at the Senate for allegedly lying about their supposed involvement in the controversy over the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law.
De Lima said former Bureau of Corrections officer in charge Rafael Ragos and National Bureau of Investigation agent Jovencio Ablen Jr. should’ve been cited in contempt as well because they lied in one of the hearings.
“Senate must always exercise extra caution in accepting and presenting so-called resource persons like Bansil, Buño, Ragos and Ablen who are themselves involved in anomalies and are, quite plainly, “planted” witnesses to suit some sinister motives,” she said in a statement.
Ragos and Ablen repeated their testimony in court and claimed at the Senate hearing that they received money on behalf of drug lords at NBP to give to De Lima when she was Justice Secretary.
De Lima has denied the allegation that she is involved in the illegal drug trade.
Though De Lima did not mention Gordon, she said senators should invite witnesses with unquestionable character instead of individuals like Ragos and Ablen.
“Ang dapat kasing tinatanong tungkol sa mga tunay na nangyayari sa BuCor/NBP ay yung mga matitinong opisyal at kawani sa BuCor, yung mga hindi sangkot sa anomalya at hindi magpapa-pressure na magsinungaling,” she said.
“I don’t know why certain colleagues of mine are still dealing with, and listening to Ragos, providing him further platform to spout lies and appear “heroic”. Are they too naïve to be deluded by such a character and/or his handler/s?” De Lima added.
Gordon is the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon and Justice committees which are jointly holding a hearing on the alleged irregularities inside NBP.