MANILA (Mabuhay) — For the second day in a row, an irate Justice Secretary Leila de Lima faced the media on Thursday, this time lashing out at a police official who accused the National Bureau of Investigation of protecting two recaptured Chinese drug convicts.
De Lima was reacting to an accusation made by Senior Superintendent Jose Mario Espino, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s anti-organized crime division, at a press conference earlier in the day, in which he implicated the NBI in the mess involving Li Lan Yan alias Jackson Dy and Wang Li Na.
The two convicts were able to escape detention last February 20 after allegedly being aided by members of the Ozamiz robbery group while they were on their way to a court hearing in Cavite. They were recaptured in a raid on July 12.
Espino cited surveillance information showing that an NBI agent was seen visiting the apartment of the Chinese couple.
“Assuming merong [NBI agent], I challenge to name them now. As in now! Name who these alleged agents are as I will immediately summon and confront him or them,” De Lima said.
“Otherwise they should shut up!” she added. The NBI is an agency under the DOJ.
De Lima said she wondered why the CIDG was resorting to blaming the NBI, admitting the situation seemed to be “geting out of hand.”
The Justice chief appealed to the Philippine National Police and leave the NBI alone, and let the NBI proceed with its ongoing investigation on the matter.
The CIDG had earlier sacked policemen involved in the recapture and “raid” of the Chinese couple’s rented apartment.
Two witnesses of the DOJ have claimed seeing the CIDG men cart away around P20 million and 80 kilos of shabu during the raid.
Espino had earlier revealed the names of the DOJ’s supposed two witnesses, sending De Lima into an uproar on Wednesday. De Lima said it was a violation of the Witness Protection Law to reveal names of those under government protection.
De Lima however stressed she was not confirming that the names revealed by Espino were those of the actual witnesses in the DOJ’s custody. “Babalikan ko kayo,” said a visibly incensed De Lima at the time. (MNS)