A government prosecution witness has testified before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court that he witnessed alleged drug lord Jaybee Sebastian hand over to then Justice Secretary and now detained Senator Leila De Lima P1.4 million in drug money at the former’s so-called “Bahay na Bato” inside the New Bilibid Prison sometime in 2014.
During the continuation of the hearing on Tuesday (February 16, 2021) of the drug trading cases against De Lima and others pending before the Muntinlupa City RTC, Branch 256, the Department of Justice prosecutors presented NBP inmate Joel D. Capones who stated under oath that on December 2013, fellow NBP inmate Sebastian asked him to engage in illegal drug trading inside and out of the NBP in order to raise funds to support the senatorial bid of accused De Lima who was then the DOJ Secretary.
Capones admitted that he indeed transacted illegal drugs or shabu to heed the directive of Sebastian because he was convinced and impressed with the latter’s apparent strong influence with the previous administration, particularly with Secretary De Lima.
“Wala na po ako magawa kundi sundin ang sinabi ni Jaybee na magbenta ng droga sa Bilibid dahil maimpluwensya po sya sa NBP,” Capones told the court presided over by Judge Romeo S. Buenaventura.
Capones narrated that on March 2014, during the anniversary of the Commando Sigue-Sigue organization, he delivered the amount of P1.4 million to Sebastian as quota payment of the shabu drugs that he sold.
According to him, the said delivery was at Sebastian’s “bahay na bato” inside the NBP. During the said delivery, he saw accused Leila De Lima go to the same place to meet with Sebastian.
Capones recalled that he personally witnessed Sebastian hand over to then Sec. De Lima the P1.4 million that he delivered to the alleged drug lord and heard him say “Ma’am eto na po ang pera”.
Testifying on direct examination, Capones, at that instance, confirmed that accused De Lima has the imprimatur of the drug dealings inside and outside of the Bureau of Corrections facility.
Sebastian already pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal drug trading inside the NBP.
In his July 2020 affidavit, Sebastian confessed that he facilitated the delivery of P5 million between convicted drug lord Peter Co and then-Justice Secretary De Lima through then-Bureau of Corrections Officer in Charge Rafael Ragos on two occasions in November and December 2012.
Sebastian also admitted in his July 2020 affidavit that De Lima’s aide Joenel Sanchez asked him to help De Lima raise funds for her candidacy in the 2013 senatorial elections, upon the instructions of Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s former bodyguard.
Before he was formally introduced as witness against De Lima, Sebastian, who confessed running the illegal drug trade in the NBP supposedly to raise funds for De Lima’s then senatorial bid, died on July 18, 2020 reportedly due to COVID-19.
During the offer of the testimony of Capones, De Lima through counsel allegedly tried to dissuade him from testifying and threatened him that he will be charged with a criminal case for illegal drug trading considering that his testimony is considered as a confession of a crime.
However, the witness insisted on testify and to admit his participation into drug trading after consultation with his own counsel.
In his testimony, Capones also told the court that he was introduced by Sebastian to Jad Dera and claimed that the latter is the nephew of accused then Secretary De Lima.
Capones testified that Dera instructed him that he should deliver money every Wednesdays and Saturdays with which he complied in the belief that Dera was indeed related to accused De Lima.
Relative to accused Bucayu, the witness testified that he was able to enjoy benefits such as installation of air-conditioning in his kubol, purchase of electric scooter or bike, unhampered entry of his visitors, use and sale of illegal drugs inside the NBP, among others, with the help of Sebastian. According to him, all his requests were granted by accused Franklin Bucayo as then Director of BuCor.
The cross examination of witness Capones will be continued on February 23, 2021.