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Marcelino submits affidavit for use vs De Lima
Former anti-narcotics enforcement officer Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino raised questions in a six-page affidavit he submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which prosecutors will consider to bolster the drug charges against detained Sen. Leila de Lima. MICHAEL VARCAS
MANILA, Philippines - Former anti-narcotics enforcement officer Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino raised questions in a six-page affidavit he submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which prosecutors will consider to bolster the drug charges against detained Sen. Leila de Lima.
After his release from the Armed Forces detention center last week following the dismissal of drug possession charges filed against him by the DOJ, Marcelino said he is willing to testify in the cases against De Lima and vowed to tell only the truth.
In his affidavit obtained by The STAR, Marcelino recalled taking part in the planning of the raid by the DOJ, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa.
Marcelino attended as a representative of the ISAFP in the series of meetings among officials of the concerned agencies in July 2014.
Marcelino recalled personally sharing intelligence information with De Lima that 70 percent of the drug trade in the country was being transacted and facilitated inside the NBP.
He said inmate Jaybee Sebastian and other drug lords like Peter Co, Vicente Sy and Herbert Colanggo were identified as targets of the operations.
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“I was surprised upon learning that a raid was conducted in the New Bilibid Prison on 15 December 2014 led by then DOJ Secretary De Lima. The ISAFP was excluded in the raid and the ensuing investigation even though the original plan was for the ISAFP to conduct forensic examination on the contraband including cellphones,” read the affidavit that was supposed to be presented before the House justice committee hearing on the NBP drug trade last year but was not allowed by lawmakers.
Marcelino also questioned why Sebastian was not transferred to the NBI jail along with the other convicted inmates.
“The raid apparently resulted in the transfer of high-profile inmates ‘Bilibid 19’ to the NBI detention facility, and to our surprise leaving behind inmate Jaybee Sebastian who was among our targets,” he pointed out.
Marcelino’s statements appear to support the allegations against the senator.
In the drug trading cases against De Lima before the Muntinlupa City regional trial court, it was alleged that Sebastian was tapped by De Lima to raise money from the drug trade inside the national penitentiary.
Sebastian had admitted that he gave P14 million from the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary to De Lima’s alleged representatives – her former aide Joenel Sanchez and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Franklin Bucayu – during her tenure as DOJ secretary in the previous administration.
Several other inmates corroborated his testimony and said they sold drugs through their contacts outside the prison supposedly to raise funds for De Lima in her senatorial campaign last year.
In the same affidavit, Marcelino revealed that while he was detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center after being arrested in a shabu warehouse reportedly while conducting intelligence operation in January last year, De Lima visited him and discussed the raid and dismantling of a shabu laboratory in Camiling, Tarlac that stemmed from his counter-intelligence operation.
“We discussed operation in the clandestine laboratory in Tarlac and the possible infiltration of the drug syndicate in the political leadership of which she said to me, ‘I can assure you the President is not involved,’” he recalled in his sworn statement obtained by The STAR.
The raid tagged as the biggest shabu laboratory ever dismantled by authorities in the country took place during the previous administration, which means the president being referred to was former president Benigno Aquino III.
“I was stunned when she mentioned the president, when I did not even state his name nor even allude to him at that time,” Marcelino pointed out.
Marcelino, a former PDEA official, bared that he was pursuing the possible political link of the syndicate behind the Tarlac laboratory.
Lastly, Marcelino belied the claim of De Lima that he was supposedly being coerced to testify against her.
“As a matter of fact, I was only constrained to execute this affidavit due to the misleading claims made by Sen. De Lima... using my name and my privileged communication with my mistah without my knowledge and consent,” he explained.
Marcelino’s lawyer, Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, has denied the allegation of De Lima that her client had a deal with the government that he would testify in the cases against the senator in exchange for the dropping of the drug case against him.
Meanwhile, opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay yesterday urged senators to support De Lima’s request for occasional furlough to vote on important bills.
“De Lima’s request is well-founded for the following overriding reasons: as a duly elected senator, it is her constitutional right and duty to participate in the voting on important bills. Under the Bill of Rights, she is presumed innocent pending her detention,” he said.
He said the senator “is not a flight risk as she even voluntarily surrendered to police authorities.”
“Her security escorts can be maximized to assure that she returns to the detention facility at Camp Crame,” he added.
Lagman and her opposition colleagues in the House of Representatives visited De Lima at Camp Crame yesterday. – With Jess Diaz, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Paolo Romero