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RODY NOT TO BLAME FOR WEAKER PESO - BUDGET CHIEF
(Global market forces, not President Duterte’s anti-drug war policy nor his verbal attacks against western leaders, caused the weakening of the peso against the dollar. Describing the current peso level as still “comfortable” and no cause for concern, Diokno said, “If you compare the peso’s performance with the rest of the region, it’s really not that bad, and it’s really due more to the strengthening of the dollar.”)

[RELATED: Duterte’s foreign policy off track — Former DFA Secretary Del Rosario]

[RELATED)2): Duterte balancing PH foreign policy – analyst READERS' COMMENTS]


SEPTEMBER 28 -Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, an econo­mics professor at the University of the Philippines, said the peso skid is simply a “result of the strengthening of the dollar more than the weakening of the peso.” File photo
Global market forces, not President Duterte’s anti-drug war policy nor his verbal attacks against western leaders, caused the weakening of the peso against the dollar and the extended losses in the Philippine stock market, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diok­no said yesterday. Diokno, an econo­mics professor at the University of the Philippines, said the peso skid is simply a “result of the strengthening of the dollar more than the weakening of the peso.” He said the strengthening of the American currency is mainly due to the “impending increase in the interest rate by the Federal Reserve (US central bank),” a move to “make it more attractive for hot money to go back to the US.” He added the same factor spooked the local stock market. “You know, when (US Federal Reserve chair Janet) Yellen said they might soon raise rates, that caused stock market decline because hot money was flowing out,” Diokno said. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte’s foreign policy off track — Del Rosario...  RELATED(2)
Duterte balancing PH foreign policy – analyst...PLUS READERS' COMMENTS...

ALSO Bilibid riot: Jaybee Sebastian, 2 high-profile inmates hurt; 1 dead
[RELATED UPDATE Bilibid riot: Drug lord, Tony Co killed, 4 others hurt]


SEPTEMBER 28 -In this July 2016 composite photo, Bilibid inmates Jaybee Sebastian and Peter Co faced Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. PNP PIO/Released
— One high-profile inmate on Wednesday morning passed away in a stabbing incident inside Building 14 of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Muntinlupa City. According to radio reports, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II confirmed the death of one inmate, Tony Co, while three other inmates, Jaybee Sebastian, Peter Co and Vicente Sy were hurt from the riot. They were rushed to the Medical Center ng Muntinlupa. Reports said Sebastian was stable. Meanwhile, there were varying reports on drug lord Peter's condition with some saying he is 50/50 while others claim he is stable. Initial reports from Aguirre said the riot started around 7:40 a.m. when Peter, Tony and Sy were caught using shabu. They were then reprimanded by Clarence Dungail, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief inspector. “Sinaway ni Major Dungail at sinabing ‘wag nyo gawin yan lahat tayo mapapasama,” the Justice secretary said, adding that the three inmates felt bad and complained to Sebastian resulting in the riot. READ MORE...RELATED, Bilibid riot: Drug lord, Co killed, 4 others hurt ...

ALSO: CIDG slowly getting the whole picture of the Bilibid riot
[RELATED: De Lima- Bilibid incident a scare tactic against inmates]


OCTOBER 1 -Criminal Investigation and Detection Group head Chief Supt. Roel Obusan The police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is slowly getting the whole picture of what had really transpired inside Building 14 of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) last Wednesday that led to the killing of one inmate and wounding of four others.The CIDG already secured copy of the video footage inside the building where drug lord Tony Co was killed while other high-profile inmates, namely, Jaybee Sebastian, Peter Co, Vicente Sy and former police Chief Insp. Clarence Donggail were wounded. CIDG director Chief Supt. Roel Obosan said investigators secured the CCTV footage after the CIDG had been tasked to investigate the bloody riot and not the Bureau of Corrections which is under the Department of Justice, apparently to dismiss any notion of bias.Obosan said CIDG investigators have also started interviews of individuals who could have knowledge or have witnessed the stabbing incident.The CIDG chief said that all angles will be covered in their probe in order to get a clearer picture of what really happened, with the investigation already centered on the “assailants,” some of whom should have been questioned by Friday. Obosan said they are collating testimonies coming from those involved in the alleged riot, although he noted some inconsistencies in their accounts.“The testimonial evidence will be taken in relation to the physical evidence and all other testimonial evidence taken from other witnesses who are not party to the groups or to the cliques in the NBP,” he said.Obosan said they need not have to get all the testimonies as they “only need two or three corroborating statements pointing at one issue.” “It is for the investigators to evaluate really if they need to add more statements or testimonies which will be leading to one aspect of the investigation or one angle that is material to the issue at hand,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED, De Lima- Bilibid incident a scare tactic against inmates...

ALSO: De Lima casts doubt on Bilibid riot
[RELATED: Solons raise eyebrows over De Lima’s NBP raid sparing Sebastian]
[RELATED(2):
Alvarez on Bilibid riot - Some may not want Jaybee Sebastian to testify]


SEPTEMBER 28 -Opposition Senator Leila De Lima gestures during a news conference she called at the Philippine Senate, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. De Lima, who led an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign, was ousted Monday from the justice committee in a vote that human rights advocates said could derail accountability in the crackdown. AP/Bullit Marquez
— Sen. Leila de Lima claimed that the reported riot at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) on Wednesday morning was a tactic of the administration to persuade prisoners to testify against her. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II confirmed that one inmate, Tony Co, was killed in the incident while three other inmates, Jaybee Sebastian, Peter Co and Vicente See were injured. "The official version of the DOJ said this was a riot. Of course, we do not know yet at this point," De Lima said in a televised press conference. "I'm not discounting the fact that this is another way of the government persuading the Bilibid 19 to testify against me and that this incident should serve as a lesson to those who refuse to cooperate with the government and do Aguirre's and Malacañang's bidding," the senator said. De Lima stressed that the prisoners at Building 14 of the NBP were isolated from the general prison population as a result of a raid in December 2015. READ MORE..RELATED, Solons raise eyebrows over De Lima’s NBP raid sparing Sebastian...RELATED(2),
Alvarez on Bilibid riot - Some may not want Jaybee Sebastian to testify...

ALSO: Jaybee Sebastian open to talk only to Duterte —lawyer
[RELATED: Duterte refuses to meet Jaybee Sebastian; "I don't talk to criminals"]
[RELATED(2): Kabayan Solon wants De Lima investigated for hand in Bilibid riot]


SEPTEMBER 30 -Jaybee Sebastian will speak about his knowledge of the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison only with President Rodrigo Duterte, his lawyer said on Wednesday, hours after the high-profile inmate was hurt in a riot inside the prison compound. In a live interview on GMA News TV's QRT, Sebastian's lawyer Edgar Arriba said the incident showed that there was a clear and present danger to the inmate's life. "Napakarami niyang alam regarding the drug trade inside and outside NBP," said Arriba. "Ayaw niyang magsalita simply because alam niyang lalong manganganib ang buhay niya." Arriba said Sebastian told him: "Magsasalita lang ako sa presidente." There had been no altercation or argument which could have prompted Wednesday's attack, leading Sebastian to conclude that it may be related to the ongoing House investigation on the drug trade inside NBP, Arriba also said. "Ang sabi niya, 'Nangyari na sa akin ngayon ang kinakatakutan ko before,'" Arriba said. "Kung magsasalita pa siya lalong ma-expose siya sa danger, kaya magsasalita lang siya sa President," he added. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte refuses to meet Jaybee Sebastian; "I don't talk to criminals"... RELATED(2) Kabayan Solon wants De Lima investigated for hand in Bilibid riot...

ALSO: Duterte on drugs inside Bilibid - I would've declared martial law if I were President then
[RELATED: INTERVIEW Matobato says he’s tired of running, ready to die]


SEPTEMBER 30 -Had President Rodrigo Duterte been the chief executive when illegal drugs allegedly proliferated inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), he would have declared a martial law. Duterte said this in a speech delivered before the 10th Infantry (Agila) Division in Mawab, Compostela Valley while urging the public to monitor the House probe on the drug trade within Bilibid supposedly during the time of Sen. Leila de Lima as Justice secretary. “Saan tayo makakita a country allowing drug syndicates to operate inside the Muntinlupa and directing the traffic?” the President said. “Sa totoo lang, kung ako ang president at [the] time, I would have declared martial law. Tutal there was really a rebellion dito eh. Nagpapatayan. We lose soldiers. Ako ngayon, I lose on the average two policemen a day kasali ang military because I have ordered you guys to join because of the widespread,” Duterte pointed out. READ MORE...RELATED, INTERVIEW Matobato says he’s tired of running, ready to die...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

‘Rody not to blame for weaker peso’


Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, an econo­mics professor at the University of the Philippines, said the peso skid is simply a “result of the strengthening of the dollar more than the weakening of the peso.” File photo

MANILA, OCTOBER 3, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Giovanni Nilles and Prinz Magtulis September 28, 2016 - Global market forces, not President Duterte’s anti-drug war policy nor his verbal attacks against western leaders, caused the weakening of the peso against the dollar and the extended losses in the Philippine stock market, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diok­no said yesterday.

Diokno, an econo­mics professor at the University of the Philippines, said the peso skid is simply a “result of the strengthening of the dollar more than the weakening of the peso.”

He said the strengthening of the American currency is mainly due to the “impending increase in the interest rate by the Federal Reserve (US central bank),” a move to “make it more attractive for hot money to go back to the US.”

He added the same factor spooked the local stock market.

“You know, when (US Federal Reserve chair Janet) Yellen said they might soon raise rates, that caused stock market decline because hot money was flowing out,” Diokno said.

READ MORE...

“Portfolio investments are naturally unpredictable, as investors are in constant hunt for more profitable stocks,” House committee on appropriations chairman and Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said in a statement yesterday, agreeing with the budget chief.

“It’s not abnormal for hot money to flow out,” Diokno said. “In fact, I think they have already overstayed, adding that better capital inflows like foreign direct investments (FDI) “will continue to grow.”

“The country’s economic fundamentals remain very strong and with Duterte’s commitment to bring order in the streets and finally end the country’s multi-pronged insurgency problem, the Philippines will emerge stronger as one of Asia’s primary hubs for FDI,” Nograles said.

Nograles said an early approval of the P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017 and the granting of emergency powers for the President to solve Metro Manila’s traffic woes, a major turn-off among foreign investors, would give the economy a much-needed stimulus.

“The national expenditure program is not only a budget for change,” Nograles added. “Large portions of the budget are for infrastructure projects that would expand the country’s investment potentials in other regions including Mindanao which has long been neglected in terms of development.”

He said the Duterte administration is ramping up implementation of public-private partnership projects that have been left idle, especially those for infrastructure.

The budget chief said to boost the economy, the government is set to spend at least P8.2 trillion for public infrastructure projects within Duterte’s six-year term, where work will be on a 24/7 basis, with strict monitoring and without corruption and red tape.

Peso level still comfortable

Describing the current peso level as still “comfortable” and no cause for concern, Diokno said, “If you compare the peso’s performance with the rest of the region, it’s really not that bad, and it’s really due more to the strengthening of the dollar.”

“At one point, we even hit P55 (to a dollar), and we are okay,” he said.

“We got a good program, the ten-point agenda of the President, you focus on the economic fundamentals – they’re pretty good,” he added. “So, if I were an investor, I’ll see the forest, not the trees.”

OFW families end up gainers

As the condition prevails, Diokno pointed out that there would always be winners and losers.

The winners, he said, include the family members of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who stand to gain from the higher value of money sent by relatives abroad.

Exporters also stand to gain from the depreciation, he said, adding those who crave for imported products will be among the losers.

He also allayed fears of higher inflation due to the weakening of the peso.

“The other fear that the depreciation will result in higher inflation –again, that is misplaced,” Diokno said. “Our inflation target is two to four percent. We are much lower than that. The last time I checked, it was at 1.4 percent.”

He stressed that there is no need “at the moment” for the government to change its policy stance at the moment or react to the depreciation at current level. – With Delon Porcalla, Alexis Romero

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte’s foreign policy off track — Del Rosario By Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 29, 2016 - 12:00am 2 9 googleplus0 0


Commenting for the first time on the matter, former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday the country’s seeming pivot to China at the expense of the US and European Union will not work. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration’s independent foreign policy is “off track” and will need to be revisited or the Philippines risks losing the confidence of long-time “friends” who had helped in the country’s development, a former top diplomat said.

Commenting for the first time on the matter, former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday the country’s seeming pivot to China at the expense of the US and European Union will not work.

“I’d like to think that the foreign affairs strategy has driven off track a bit,” Del Rosario said in an unscheduled speech.

“We need to revisit the off track direction that is driving the new so-called independent foreign policy,” he said during the closing remarks of a forum hosted by his think tank, the Albert del Rosario Institute for Strategic and International Studies.

Del Rosario, who was once also the country’s ambassador to the US, relayed that he had been asked many times by members of the diplomatic community about the current administration’s friendlier approach to China.

On top of that, he said the foreign affairs corps do not understand why the Philippines is “suddenly distancing itself” from the US, its “treaty ally who has worked specifically on promoting the rule of law.”

It was under Del Rosario when the Philippines sued and won against China before the international arbitration court over its nine-dash line claim in the West Philippine Sea.

However, President Duterte has decided to become more cordial to China, but not without putting Philippines’ relations with the US in jeopardy.

In his latest tirade, Duterte yesterday claimed the US has manipulated the foreign exchange rate to weaken the peso to a seven-year low against the dollar. His budget chief Benjamin Diokno has, however, rebutted this.

“I think this foreign policy of equating US vis-a-vis China should not be a zero-sum game,” Del Rosario said. “In foreign affairs, you try to get as many friends as possible. You don’t get one friend at the expense of another friend. Playing a zero-sum game is illogical and we should get away from this.”

He said the country’s foreign policy is driven by “our democratic ties.”

“It must be principled, it must be independent and it must follow the rule of law.”

Part of that, Del Rosario said, is respect for human rights, which is not only an international norm but also a prerequisite for some of the development aid the Philippines gets from its donors like the US.

He also questioned whether Duterte has discussed his foreign policy thrust thoroughly to touch on possible economic repercussions of moving away from the US and the EU.

For instance, he cited the $4 billion raised over the last three years as well as the $140 million in US military aid tied to a condition of respect for human rights.

On both the US and EU, Del Rosario cited the general system of preferences, where around $800 million of benefits had been recorded in terms of preferable access to trade.

“We will lose that,” he said.

“I’m saying that has anyone in government sat down to calculate the probable loss of economic benefits if we pursue the foreign policy we are currently pursuing in the name of an independent foreign policy?”

The former foreign affairs chief warned of a possible loss of confidence should the Duterte government pursue its current foreign policy track.

“Confidence has been restored in our country in an immense amount. Let’s not lose it,” he said.

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RELATED(2) FROM THE MANILA TIMES (ANALYSIS)

Duterte balancing PH foreign policy – analyst BY JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, TMT ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 TOP STORIES


President Rodrigo Duterte meets with Laotian President Bounnhang Vorachith during a courtesy call at the Presidential Palace in Laos on Sept. 7, 2016. MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that the government will be pursuing an "independent foreign policy." PHILSTAR FILE PPD/King Rodriguez

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s desire for closer ties with China and Russia is aimed at balancing Philippine foreign policy that has long been aligned with the United States and Japan.

This was how professor Bobby Tuazon, director for policy studies of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance think tank, viewed the recent pronouncements of the President of a “neutral foreign policy.”

In an interview, Tuazon pointed out that Duterte’s statements were consistent with the 1987 Constitution, which itself provides for an independent foreign policy and renounces war as an instrument of foreign policy.

“Thus, there should be no question if President Duterte advocates for an independent foreign policy because that is precisely what the country’s heads of state are bound to uphold,” he told The Manila Times.

The President said last week he would make frequent trips to China to discuss the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute and other issues. Duterte is open to a joint venture with Beijing to develop mineral resources in the disputed waters.

Duterte also said China and Russia could be alternative investment and business partners, after a ratings agency warned of risks to the Philippines’ credit rating brought about by supposed uncertainties amid the government’s bloody anti-drug war.

The Philippine armed forces, moreover, has been asked to look at the possibility of acquiring Chinese and Russian military equipment through soft loans.

Detrimental

Tuazon argued that the Philippines’ longstanding dependence on the US and Japan had been to the “detriment of the country’s economic and political interests.”

But Tuazon said a truly independent foreign policy would require a sovereign state not be part of any defense alliance with another country, especially one that is aimed against another sovereign state.

Moreover, a sovereign state should not allow the entry of foreign forces and equipment, he said.

“So if the President is really true to his word he should be expected to comply with these other sovereign and constitutional principles,” Tuazon pointed out.

Manila is a treaty ally of Washington, and is designated as a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally.

The Philippines and the US have a standing Mutual Defense Treaty, as well as a Visiting Forces Agreement and an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement allowing the rotational presence of US troops.

Analyst Ramon Casiple earlier told The Manila Times Duterte’s statements that seemed to favor China could be part of an effort to correct the notion that the country was “too aligned” with the United States.

“Neutral is the new policy but that does not mean that we are now aligning with China. The President could just be correcting the situation because in the past our government almost didn’t want to talk to China,” Casiple said, referring to the foreign policy of the previous administration.

Casiple said the perception of China and other countries in the region was that the Philippines was too aligned with the US and other Western powers including the European Union.

He said: “If we allow the notion that we are close with the US, how can China believe us?”

5 COMMENTS

ALK on SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 9:54 PM
Let’s see, in the area, Taiwan is a close American ally. Japan and South Korea are firm American allies and have huge number of American troops stationed there and have both countries have been bedrocks of stability. Singapore has U.S. ships stationed there.

Has U.S. support for all these countries. Can any of these analysts explain how US aid and protection have hurt their economies, as they are claiming it has hurt the Philippines?

I’m wondering why what is good enough South Korea and Japan, two countries far more prosperous than the Philippines can ever hope to be, is not good enough for the Philippines?
REPLY

ZENY SANTIAGO on SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 9:19 PM
China is waging war against us. It has blockaded Ayungin Shoal ( RPS Sierra Madre is grounded here ). A blockade is an act of war. A blockaded country has the right to use force to break a blockade. We can’t do this because our armed forces is feeble. But how can we be on friendly terms with a country waging war a against us ?
China should first lift its blockade and withdraw its forces from the artificial islands it has constructed.
REPLY

ANTON on SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 9:53 AM
it will be a idea or foreign policy to be neutral. get closer relationships to China, Russia and US. then we can rip all the benefits from all. we can have all investing to us, like chinese investments, russian weapons and systems while still maintaining EDCA. its a win win situation.
REPLY

JOHN on SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 8:08 AM
Mahathir of Malaysia and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore did it too! We must support Pres. DU30 on this foreign policy. We are not veering away with our alliances with the west but we are exploring other options for our NATIONAL INTEREST. We cant just put our eggs in just one basket so to speak. Let’s get the best of both Worlds (West/China/&Russia) for a better Philippines.
REPLY

JUAN ARISTORENAS on SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 4:25 AM
Why would you take the word of an analyst Ramon Casiple of what is good for the Philippines regarding the South China Sea. China is a bully now, tomorrow and forever.


PHILSTAR

Bilibid riot: Jaybee Sebastian, 2 high-profile inmates hurt; 1 dead (philstar.com) | Updated September 28, 2016 - 9:44am 87 8178 googleplus6 0


In this July 2016 composite photo, Bilibid inmates Jaybee Sebastian and Peter Co faced Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. PNP PIO/Released

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2 11:45 a.m.) — One high-profile inmate on Wednesday morning passed away in a stabbing incident inside Building 14 of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Muntinlupa City.

According to radio reports, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II confirmed the death of one inmate, Tony Co, while three other inmates, Jaybee Sebastian, Peter Co and Vicente Sy were hurt from the riot. They were rushed to the Medical Center ng Muntinlupa. Reports said Sebastian was stable.

Meanwhile, there were varying reports on drug lord Peter's condition with some saying he is 50/50 while others claim he is stable.

Initial reports from Aguirre said the riot started around 7:40 a.m. when Peter, Tony and Sy were caught using shabu. They were then reprimanded by Clarence Dungail, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief inspector.

“Sinaway ni Major Dungail at sinabing ‘wag nyo gawin yan lahat tayo mapapasama,” the Justice secretary said, adding that the three inmates felt bad and complained to Sebastian resulting in the riot.

READ MORE...

In a radio interview, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge, retired Chief Superintendent Rolando Asuncion, confirmed the stabbing incident in Building 14. He said there were seven to eight inmates involved in the riot. He added that Dungail was also hurt but refused to be brought to the hospital.

Asuncion said BuCor's initial investigation revealed that an inmate named Edgar Cinco witnessed Tony and the others taking drugs. He then told Dungail about it. Dungail went to the area where the pot session was happening, however, Tony charged towards Dungail and the riot started.

The BuCor official clarified that Dungail is considered as one of the inmate leaders while Sebastian and Peter are commandos. He said Sebastian obtained chest wounds. favor Due to the incident, Asuncion said the inmates involved in the riot would be transferred to other colonies. He said riots are usual occurrences inside the penitentiary.

“I still believe na hindi pa rin nakakalusot ang droga diyan at hindi pa rin compromised ang SAF (Special Action Force),” he added. The SAF was placed inside the NBP by the Duterte administration to handle security inside the prison.

Aguirre said Sebastian is still a key witness to the alleged NBP drug trade despite his earlier statement that the latter no longer needs to testify. Sebastian was invited to the House Committee on Justice probe into the proliferation of drugs inside the NBP.

“Hindi maganda para sa gobyerno na mamatay si Jaybee Sebastian dahil siya ay inaasahan na mag-spill ng beans tungkol kay De Lima,” Aguirre said.

Sebastian is allegedly a favored inmate who is in cahoots with former Justice secretary and now Sen. Leila De Lima.

On the other hand, Peter was mentioned by Duterte as one of the drug lords who continued to direct illegal drug operations from behind bars. Duterte said Peter is a drug triad member operating in Luzon and Metro Manila.

Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., who the president named for involvement in the narcotics trade, tagged Peter as his son Kerwin Espinosa Jr.’s source of drugs. — Rosette Adel

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Bilibid riot: Drug lord killed, 4 others hurt By Perseus Echeminada (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 29, 2016 - 12:00am 0 350 googleplus0 0


Wounded inmate Vicente Sy arrives under heavy guard at the Medical Center Muntinlupa following a fight at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City yesterday. BERNARDO BATUIGAS

Brawl ensues over shabu session

MANILA, Philippines – A high-profile Chinese drug lord was killed while four others, including controversial convict Jaybee Sebastian, were wounded during a riot inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City yesterday.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the riot broke out after an inmate reprimanded other convicts engaged in a shabu session.

Aguirre identified the dead as Tony Co, whose Chinese name is Xu You Kwang. He said Co and two other injured Chinese convicts, Peter Co and Vicente Sy, are among the biggest drug traders in the country.

Tony Co was among six Chinese nationals convicted in June 2011 for the 2001 kidnapping of Jacky Tiu in La Union. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison without possibility of parole. He and two others were meted an additional 17 years and four months for stealing the victim’s car.

Tiu, who is married to former Philippine National Police chief Arturo Lomibao, confirmed to The STAR that Tony Co was indeed one of her kidnappers, and that they were dismayed to have learned that he and another of her kidnappers had evolved from kidnapping to drugs when the incident of the “Bilibid 19” broke out in 2014.

Also injured in yesterday’s incident was former police chief inspector Clarence Dongail and Sebastian, a prison leader being asked by officials to testify in the congressional investigation against Sen. Leila de Lima.

Dongail reportedly reprimanded the two Cos and Sy for using shabu. Peter and the other inmates then attacked Dongail, triggering the riot.

Initial reports said up to eight inmates figured in the melee.

“He (Dongail) told them to stop what they were doing because everybody in the facility would be affected if authorities find out that there’s still shabu there,” Aguirre said.

When Dongail went to Sebastian’s cell, Tony followed him and the brawl ensued, he added.

Sebastian suffered stab wounds in the hand and stomach and was rushed to the Muntinlupa Medical Center.

Sy, on the other hand, also sustained stab wounds at his back and was confined in the same hospital in serious condition.

Dongail sustained injuries but chose to be treated inside the penitentiary.

Convicted drug lord Jaybee Sebastian was among those wounded in the riot, which left one inmate dead Sebastian claimed a certain Thomas was the one who attacked him.

Sebastian said he was talking with Dongail in the mess hall when Peter Co and Sy appeared and invited them to go to the cell of Tony Co for a meeting.

He said the attack took place inside the cell of Tony.

Sebastian said that Thomas, an inmate from Building 14, attacked him with an ice pick. He said he was able to fight back during a scuffle for the weapon.

Dongail, on the other hand, attacked Tony Co and Sy, he said.

Peter Co, however, claimed he was in the mess hall when he got an invitation from Tony for a meeting at his cell. He declined to go alone and went with Sy.

Peter claimed they were inside the cell with Dongail when another inmate got inside and attacked Tony and Sy. He did not identify the attacker.

Prison officials said the statements of the two inmates point to two possible suspects – Thomas and Dongail – as the attackers.

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Rolando Asuncion said the seven to eight inmates involved in the riot are from two rival gangs. The violence ended quickly and occurred in a contained area separate from the larger inmate population.

He said it’s not clear what kind of injuries the victims sustained but an ice pick and other materials were confiscated.

“It was a plain riot that lasted only for a minute,” he said, adding that riots are a regular occurrence in prison.

The riot took place a day after prison officials installed a powerful military type cellphone signal jammer that practically shut down all signals in Building 14, the high security prison facility at the maximum security compound where 33 high profile convicts, including the so-called Bilibid 19 led by Sebastian, are confined.

Asuncion said some of the inmates at Building 14 could be transferred to other penal facilities to prevent a repeat of the riot.

He said the maximum security compound, which can accommodate 4,000 inmates, is now overcrowded with up to 15,000 convicts.

Asuncion said the convicts in Building 14 are confined in separate cells but every morning they are allowed to go out to exercise in a common area.

Asuncion said he is still awaiting the report from the police Special Action Force (SAF) that has taken over security of the NBP.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has ordered the SAF to conduct an investigation into the riot.

“We are now conducting an investigation on that. I hope they (SAF) will come up with a very good investigation on what really happened,” Dela Rosa said.

He said the riot would change the security atmosphere inside the prison, especially among the leaders and members of various gangs.

“That will create distrust among them, they will now feel suspicious on everybody inside,” he said.

Over 300 SAF commandos were deployed to secure the NBP to prevent inmates and jailguards from bringing contraband inside the jail, particularly in the maximum security area.

The SAF took over security in the NBP after a series of raids indicated high-value inmates were enjoying luxuries inside the penal facility.

Dela Rosa, however, could not say whether the riot would force Sebastian to testify against De Lima.

“I don’t know. You better ask him. I don’t know him personally, I don’t know what’s inside his mind,” he said. – With Edu Punay, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

CIDG slowly getting the whole picture of the riot Written by Mario J. Mallari Saturday, 01 October 2016


Criminal Investigation and Detection Group head Chief Supt. Roel Obusan

The police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is slowly getting the whole picture of what had really transpired inside Building 14 of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) last Wednesday that led to the killing of one inmate and wounding of four others.

The CIDG already secured copy of the video footage inside the building where drug lord Tony Co was killed while other high-profile inmates, namely, Jaybee Sebastian, Peter Co, Vicente Sy and former police Chief Insp. Clarence Donggail were wounded.

CIDG director Chief Supt. Roel Obosan said investigators secured the CCTV footage after the CIDG had been tasked to investigate the bloody riot and not the Bureau of Corrections which is under the Department of Justice, apparently to dismiss any notion of bias.

Obosan said CIDG investigators have also started interviews of individuals who could have knowledge or have witnessed the stabbing incident.The CIDG chief said that all angles will be covered in their probe in order to get a clearer picture of what really happened, with the investigation already centered on the “assailants,” some of whom should have been questioned by Friday.

Obosan said they are collating testimonies coming from those involved in the alleged riot, although he noted some inconsistencies in their accounts.

“The testimonial evidence will be taken in relation to the physical evidence and all other testimonial evidence taken from other witnesses who are not party to the groups or to the cliques in the NBP,” he said.

Obosan said they need not have to get all the testimonies as they “only need two or three corroborating statements pointing at one issue.”

“It is for the investigators to evaluate really if they need to add more statements or testimonies which will be leading to one aspect of the investigation or one angle that is material to the issue at hand,” he said.

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The CIDG chief could not say how many assailants there were during the riot, although reports said that Sebastian was also attacked by another inmate who is a member of the Genuine Ilocano.

“I cannot say how many assailants there are right now. I might be misconstrued. If I say six now and then later on, it will turn out to be eight, you will already say that the investigation is not truthful and there is cover-up again. That’s the reason we really wanted to be very very meticulous in talking about the incident. Because investigators usually will not give details of the investigation--not until everything is finalized and ready for public knowledge,” Obosan said.

Obosan said that CIDG probers are still conducting more interviews.

“It has been two days of labor of members of the CIDG… they are there until now. We have finished conducting some interviews on the victims, on other witnesses. We have already made the SOCO look at the physical evidence. Actually the focus of today’s investigation will be on the assailants,” Obosan said.

“It will be quite a rigorous one. We cannot yet say we already have the whole picture. We got hold of the footage. You call it CCTV. However, we have to really assure that the chain of custody will not be broken,” he added.

The CIDG chief said he was not setting a deadline for the investigation, but he wanted it finished the soonest possible time.
Other agencies of the government, including the Bureau of Corrections were also helping in the probe.

The alleged riot erupted amid the ongoing congressional inquiry against Sen. Leila de Lima for her alleged link to illegal drugs as witnesses, composed of several high-profile inmates at the NBP led by Herbert Colanggo, tagged the former justice secretary in the proliferation of drugs in the penitentiary.

Rody won’t talk to Jaybee Sebastian



The President has closed the door on the possibility of talking to high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian.

Duterte gave this reaction after Sebastian’s lawyer Eduardo Arriba said his client would only reveal all what he knew about the illegal trade in the New Bilibid Prison to the President.

”I do not talk to criminals,” President Duterte said in a media interview early Friday morning upon his arrival from a two-day official visit to Vietnam at the Davao International Airport.

Duterte said Sebastian should go instead to the fiscal “or write a letter to Secretary (Perfecto) Yasay.”

The President said Sebastian allowed himself to be involved in illegal drugs in the national penitentiary and he should be ready to pay for the lives he destroyed because of illegal drugs.

”I said to be careful of what you wish for or what you want because you might get it. It will come. As always, the comeuppance is the law of karma, I assure you, that is a very valid universal statement,” the President said.

Earlier, Sebastian said, through his lawyer, that he will not attend the House probe on the proliferation of illegal drugs in the NBP and will only talk to the President about the drug trade inside the NBP.
 


SEBASTIAN, PETER CO, DE LIMA

Several witnesses, including Sebastian’s fellow high-profile inmates in the NBP, accused Sebastian of giving them “quotas” for the sale of drugs to raise campaign funds for then Justice Secretary de Lima’s senatorial bid.

De Lima, now a senator, has been linked to the alleged NBP drug matrix that President Duterte released last month.

After Duterte yesterday thumbed down the lawyer of high vaiue prisoner Jaybee Sebastian’s wish to talk only to the President and tell him everything on what had gone on in the New Bilibid Prison on the drug trade business, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said he is willing to talk to the lawyer of Sebastian but stressed that he no longer needs Sebastian as a witness, as he has more than enough testimonies and documents to criminally charge Senator de Lima.

Apparently,however. Sebastian had already issued his affidavit as a copy of this obtained by GMA News’ Jamie Santos, Sebastian identified his attacker as inmate Tom Donina, whom he described as an aide of Dongail.

According to the GMA report, former Chief Inspector Clarence Dongail confronted fellow inmate Jaybee Sebastian about an alleged murder plot against Dongail’s wife before Sebastian was attacked with an icepick on Wednesday morning.

Sebastian said he was talking with Dongail and Donina before the stabbing incident.

“Regarding the issue of Diumano, there was a plan to kill the wife of Major Clarence since our plan was supposedly for me and Hanz Tan to kill Major Clarence’s wife, Grace,” Sebastian stated in his affidavit.

Sebastian said fellow inmate Peter Co warned Jenny, the wife of another convict Tony Co, about spending too much time with Dongail’s wife, Grace.


COURTESY OF GMA NEWS NETWORK

Sebastian said Dongail told him that Peter Co and Tony Co pointed to Sebastian and a certain Hanz who were planning to kill Dongail’s wife, the GMA news online reported.

He said that when Donina left after saying those words, Peter Co, Tony Co and Vicente Sy arrived at the quarters.

Sebastian said Dongail followed Peter Co, Tony Co, and Sy, while he turned to watch TV.

Asked if he would file charges against Donina, Sebastian said his lawyers would still study the matter.

DoJ open to transferring Sebastian to another Bucor jail

Aguirre yesterday said he is not discounting the possibility of transferring high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian to another penal institution controlled by the BuCor.

This, after Sebastian’s camp reportedly wanted him transferred due to threats to his life following the deadly stabbing incident in the NBP that left him injured.

“If it’s necessary, then we will consider the request,”Aguirre told reporters.

De Lima, who claimed Sebastian was a government asset, allegedly got millions in drug money to fund her senatorial campaign early this year in exchange for tolerating drug syndicates.

The convicted kidnapper had declined to spill the beans on the Bilibid drug mess until he sustained injuries from a stabbing incident, which left inmate Tony Co dead and two others injured, last Wednesday. With PNA

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RELATED FROM CNN PHILIPPINES

De Lima: Bilibid incident a scare tactic against inmates By Eimor P. Santos, CNN Phiilippines Updated 18:21 PM PHT Wed, September 28, 2016

Sen. Leila De Lima says the casualties in the violent incident at the Bilibid share one thing in common: They all refused to testify against her and name her as a protector of drug lords.

Highlights
Riot erupts at Bilibid, kills at least one high-profile inmate, hurts three others, authorities say
Sen. De Lima believes 'riot' is Malacañang's scare tactic vs. inmates
All casualties refused to testify against me in the House probe on Bilibid drug trade, De Lima says
De Lima reveals text messages showing Jaybee Sebastian is being forced to speak against her
DOJ Sec. Aguirre says only De Lima will benefit if Sebastian is killed
Emotional De Lima accuses officials of making up stories

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Senator Leila De Lima believes Malacañang is behind the violent incident at the New Bilibid Prison, which she said is President Rodrigo Duterte's "desperate" tactic to persuade inmates to testify against her.

De Lima said inmates Tony and Peter Co, Vicente Sy, and Jaybee Sebastian, all refused to testify against her in the House probe on alleged drug operations at the Bilibid. She said they declined to name her as a protector of drug lords.

She added that as a result, they became the casualties in the incident that erupted early Wednesday in Building 14 of the maximum security compound — where high-profile convicts are held. Tony Co was killed, while the rest were rushed to Medical Center Muntinlupa for treatment.

"I am not discounting the possibility that this so-called riot is Malacañang's way of sending its message to prisoners who refuse to implicate me in the Bilibid drug trade," De Lima said in a press conference hours after the incident.

She reiterated that the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers, which are manning Bilibid, are intimidating and torturing prisoners to fabricate testimonies against her. She said a gang commander, who she did not name, was recently subjected to psychological torture.

De Lima had several emotional outbursts as she described the "so-called riot" as a part of the government's "teleserye drama projecting me as the Bilibid drug queen."

"It makes this government an assassin state, a state that promotes murder and summary executions as policy and as a weapon against perceived enemies," De Lima said.

She added that if her accusations were true, she pleads to Malacañang "to stop these tragic, desperate and despicable actions."

"These prisoners are supposed to be under the government's protection."


PHILSTAR

De Lima casts doubt on Bilibid riot By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated September 28, 2016 - 1:05pm 3 796 googleplus4 1


Opposition Senator Leila De Lima gestures during a news conference she called at the Philippine Senate, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. De Lima, who led an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign, was ousted Monday from the justice committee in a vote that human rights advocates said could derail accountability in the crackdown. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima claimed that the reported riot at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) on Wednesday morning was a tactic of the administration to persuade prisoners to testify against her.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II confirmed that one inmate, Tony Co, was killed in the incident while three other inmates, Jaybee Sebastian, Peter Co and Vicente See were injured.

"The official version of the DOJ said this was a riot. Of course, we do not know yet at this point," De Lima said in a televised press conference.

"I'm not discounting the fact that this is another way of the government persuading the Bilibid 19 to testify against me and that this incident should serve as a lesson to those who refuse to cooperate with the government and do Aguirre's and Malacañang's bidding," the senator said.

De Lima stressed that the prisoners at Building 14 of the NBP were isolated from the general prison population as a result of a raid in December 2015.

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The so-called "Bilibid 19" were cut off from the drug trade and luxurious living quarters inside the prison.

The former Justice secretary added that the Bilibid 19 were also the ones who filed cases against her before the Office of the Ombudsman due to their alleged persecution after being isolated at Building 14.

"I am not discounting the possibility that this so called riot is Malacañang's way of sending messages to prisoners who refuse to implicate me in the Bilibid drug trade as part of Aguirre's and Malacanang's teleserye drama projecting me as the Bilibid drug queen. If this is the truth, I plead to Malacanang to stop this tragic, desperate and despicable actions," De Lima said.

De Lima said that the government's tactic of threatening prisoners with violence and murder who refuse to testify against her "is the height of mafia tactics and gangster-style operation that makes this government worse than a narco state."

"It makes this government an assassin state, a state that promotes murder and summary execution as policy and as weapon against its perceived enemies," De Lima said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Solons raise eyebrows over De Lima’s NBP raid sparing Sebastian INQUIRER.net By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab, September 21st, 2016 06:18 PM


Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez (left) suspects that the riot at the Bilibid that hurt inmate Jaybee Sebastian (center) could have been meant to silence him. Sebastian has been set to testify in the House probe into the alleged illegal drug trade inside the penitentiary being linked to then Justice Secretary-now-Senator Leila de Lima (right). INQUIRER FILES Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Wednesday said the riot at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) that hurt purported government asset Jaybee Sebastian could be linked to the House investigation into the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary

LAWMAKERS raised their eyebrows after a police official testified that then justice secretary Leila de Lima took over the 2014 raid at the New Bilibid Prison that spared kidnap convict JB Sebastian, De Lima’s purported drug lord.

Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Director Benjamin Magalong on Wednesday told the House of Representatives inquiry into the Bilibid drug trade that the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), which he used to head, was not included in the prison raid in December 2014 led by De Lima that exposed the luxurious quarters of drug lords.

READ: Drug lords rule New Bilibid Prison

Apparently the raid spared Sebastian, who witnesses tagged as De Lima’s favored drug lord and the source of campaign funds raised from the supposed prison drug trade.

Sebastian’s kubol was demolished only in February 2016. De Lima resigned from the Department of Justice in October 2015 to pursue her Senate bid.

Lawmakers and even Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III said Magalong’s narrative seemed to bolster the suspicion that De Lima pulled out 19 inmates from the maximum security compound of the Bilibid after the raid so that her favored drug lord Sebastian could monopolize the drug trade.

“I was startled when I got this information. When I looked at the affidavits of the witnesses, yung timeline, nagsasabay – as early as 2012, 2013, 2014. And all of a sudden, pumasok si Sebastian, siya nagmamando dun then nagka-raid noong December… at namayagpag (business niya),” Majority Floor Leader Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy Farinas said.

Aguirre said Magalong’s account only bolsters the fact that De Lima preempted the CIDG’s Bilibid raid dubbed as “Oplan Kronos” so that she could transfer the inmates who were deemed as Sebastian’s competitors in the drug trade.

“Napalaki ang epekto ng pahayag ni General Magalong, yung pagta-transfer ng 19 na Bilibid ay sa December ginawa… Gusto palang i-preempt ang gagawing operation na Oplan Kronos. Napalaki pong tulong sa kung ano mang case ang i-fa-file namin,” Aguirre said.

In his account, Magalong said De Lima did not coordinate with the CIDG for the December raid even though months before De Lima called for a high-level meeting about the raid with the CIDG, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

Magalong said the CIDG concocted its plan for the Bilibid raid dubbed “Oplan Kronus,” an exclusively CIDG case operation plan that was crafted by an interagency committee composed of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the PDEA, the ISAFP and the Philippine National Police.

Magalong said long before the 2014 raid, he had been reminding De Lima about the need to dismantle the luxurious quarters of drug lords at the maximum security compound of the Bilibid.

Magalong said De Lima then called for a high-level meeting attended only by a few officers such as him and then PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac.

Magalong said it was also unfortunate that National Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director General Rafael Ragos was included in the meeting. Ragos was accused by inmates of receiving a “tara” or “quota” in the illicit drug trade when he was then Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge.


MAGALONG

Magalong said in the meeting, he reiterated his proposal to raid the Bilibid, showing De Lima photos of the luxurious quarters or “kubol” of the drug lords.

Magalong said De Lima stunned when she saw the lavish “kubol” of robbery convict and alleged drug lord Herbert Colangco.

After the planning session, a letter of instruction was crafted to implement the Oplan Kronos. Magalong said the letter of instruction was supposed to be signed by then interior secretary Mar Roxas and then justice secretary De Lima.

Magalong said the Oplan Kronos was never implemented because the letter of instruction was not approved by De Lima and Roxas.

“Nung nagpe-prepare na kami for implementation ng letter of instruction, we came up with Oplan Kronus pending approval of the letter of instruction. And we waited, and waited, and waited,” Magalong said.

Magalong said he was surprised when on Dec. 15, 2014, De Lima, the NBI and the PDEA K-9 unit swooped down on the Bilibid and raided the luxurious quarters.

The raid resulted in the transfer to the NBI detention facility of 19 inmates, including alleged drug lords Colangco and Peter Co.

Witnesses from the New Bilibid Prison in the House inquiry said Sebastian’s drug business flourished in the eight months the nine inmates were pulled out of the maximum security compound.

“Hanggang nalaman ko nung December, bigla na lang nag-plano na mag-ra-raid na sila. Pati kontak namin sa PDEA, nagtaka, bakit na-raid ang New Bilibid Prison, hindi kami kasali?” Magalong said.

“Ang nabanggit, wala na kami sa picture,” he added.

Magalong said he felt bad that De Lima sidelined the CIDG in the Bilibid raid.

“Unfortunately, when they finished the raid, hindi na kami kasali… To be honest with you, kami sa PDEA, masama ang loob namin dun,” Magalong said.

Magalong said when then Bureau of Corrections director Franklin Bucayo heard of the planned Bilibid raid, Bucayo pleaded Magalong not to pursue with Oplan Kronus.

Magalong recounted that Bucayo told him “Benjie, mamamatay ako. Delikado ako diyan.”

Magalong then said Bucayo asked for a meeting with De Lima, ahead of the Bilibid December raid.

Bucayo was accused by the Bilibid inmates of receiving millions of “tara” from the illicit drug trade. Bucayo was also included in the drug matrix of President Rodrigo Duterte linking De Lima to the Bilibid drug trade.

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RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

House Speaker Alvarez on Bilibid riot: Some may not want Jaybee Sebastian to testify By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated September 28, 2016 - 12:56pm 2 1150 googleplus0 0


In this July 2016, Bilibid inmate Jaybee Sebastian faced Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. PNP PIO/Released

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez on Wednesday morning raised suspicion over the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) riot, saying there might be a possibility that some forces do not want inmate Jaybee Sebastian to testify.

“That is sad because apparently there are forces na ayaw na mag-testify iyong si Jaybee Sebastian,” Alvarez said in an ambush interview.

Sebastian is allegedly a favored Bilibid inmate who raised funds for former Justice secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima's campaign kitty.

Earlier, Sebastian and two other high-profile inmates Peter Co and Vincent Sy were hurt in a stabbing incident inside the Building 14 at the NBP. Another inmate Tony Co died.

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Alvarez said he does not think the stabbing incident is a simple prison riot given the inmates involved as well as the timing of the incident.

“Bakit naman of all those years bakit ngayon lang sila magpapatayan diyan sa ano tapos targeted pa yung intended resource persons na announced nung committee on justice [hearing?],” the solon said.

Alvarez clarified he could not confirm if the supposed riot is a move to derail the House panel hearing into the proliferation of the drug trade inside NBP, but he said he wants to look into the motive of those who want to stop revealing the truth.

Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge, retired Chief Superintendent Rolando Asuncion, however, said riots are usual occurrence in the penitentiary.

READ: Bilibid riot: Jaybee Sebastian, 2 high-profile inmates hurt; 1 dead


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Jaybee Sebastian open to talk only to Duterte —lawyer Published September 28, 2016 5:43pm Updated September 28, 2016 6:25pm



Jaybee Sebastian will speak about his knowledge of the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison only with President Rodrigo Duterte, his lawyer said on Wednesday, hours after the high-profile inmate was hurt in a riot inside the prison compound.

In a live interview on GMA News TV's QRT, Sebastian's lawyer Edgar Arriba said the incident showed that there was a clear and present danger to the inmate's life.

"Napakarami niyang alam regarding the drug trade inside and outside NBP," said Arriba. "Ayaw niyang magsalita simply because alam niyang lalong manganganib ang buhay niya."

Arriba said Sebastian told him: "Magsasalita lang ako sa presidente."

There had been no altercation or argument which could have prompted Wednesday's attack, leading Sebastian to conclude that it may be related to the ongoing House investigation on the drug trade inside NBP, Arriba also said.

"Ang sabi niya, 'Nangyari na sa akin ngayon ang kinakatakutan ko before,'" Arriba said.

"Kung magsasalita pa siya lalong ma-expose siya sa danger, kaya magsasalita lang siya sa President," he added.

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Sebastian was the most prominent name that surfaced in last week's House of Representatives hearing on the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary, with fellow inmates linking him to Senator Leila De Lima. Duterte has tagged De Lima for allowing narcotics to proliferate inside the NBP while she was justice secretary.

De Lima, a vocal critic of Duterte, has denied the links, saying that Sebastian was a government asset.

Arriba declined to answer when asked if this was true.

Sebastian underwent surgery on Wednesday after the riot, which left another high-profile inmate Tony Co dead and two others hurt.

Arriba said Sebastian did not want to court the ire of either the previous administration or the current one.

He also said they will request for Sebastian's transfer to another building after his release from the hospital. —Jessica Bartolome, JST/KBK, GMA News

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte refuses to meet Jaybee Sebastian By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated September 30, 2016 - 11:58am 74 1411 googleplus1 0


President Rodrigo Duterte (right) bares the agenda of his working visit to Vietnam in his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on September 28. File photo on the left shows convicted drug lord Jaybee Sebastian. PPD | PNP PIO

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo rejected the request of a New Bilibid Prison (NBP) high-profile inmate allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade to meet with him.

Inmate Jaybee Sebastian earlier agreed to cooperate with the investigation into the recent riot inside the NBP if the chief executive would talk to him.

READ: Convict Sebastian willing to tell all on NBP drug trade

"I do not talk to criminals. He can go to the fiscal if he wants or maybe write a letter to [Foreign Affairs] Secretary [Perfecto] Yasay if that is feasible," Duterte told members of the press after arriving from Vietnam.

Sebastian was one of the three injured inmates during a stabbing incident at the NBP earlier this week.

Lawyer Eduardo Arriba said that Sebastian believes that the incident branded as a "riot among inmates" might be related to the investigation into the illegal drug trade inside the prison.

Duterte said that the recent incident was the "comeuppance and the law of karma" for the inmates involved in the illegal drug trade.

"Sinasabi ko hiningi ninyo lahat 'yan. I've been telling everybody 'yang drugs na 'yan hinihingi ninyo sa buhay n'yo, dadating 'yan. I said be careful of what you wish for or what you want because you might get it," Duterte said.

RELATED: Bilibid riot: Jaybee Sebastian, 2 high-profile inmates hurt; 1 dead

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RELATED(2) FROM THE INQUIRER

Solon wants De Lima investigated for hand in Bilibid riot INQUIRER.net By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab, September 28th, 2016 05:50 PM


Lawyer Harry Roque INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

A lawmaker called on the police to investigate Senator Leila De Lima for her involvement in the Bilibid riot that almost killed her “asset,” drug lord Jaybee Sebastian.

In a press briefing led by the minority bloc at the House of Representatives, Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque said he found it suspicious that the riot happened just when the House justice committee summoned the convicted carnapper Sebastian for the inquiry in aid of legislation on the proliferation of drugs at the Bilibid.

READ: De Lima Bilibid ‘asset’ hurt in riot; high-profile inmate killed

Bilibid inmates who testified in the House inquiry alleged that Sebastian was De Lima’s favored drug lord who raised campaign funds for the senator from the drug trade.

De Lima denied the allegation, saying that Sebastian was the government asset against high-profile inmates who led lavish lifestyles behind bars.

The riot occurred at about 7:30 a.m., when fellow inmate, convicted police officer Clarence Dongail caught inmates Peter Co, Tony Co, and Vicente Sy having a “pot session” inside their cell.

READ MORE...

Tony Co reportedly went to the cell of Sebastian and Dongail and attacked Dongail with a knife, sparking the riot. Tony Co was killed in the riot. Peter Co is in critical condition.

“I hope the hearing still pushes through. One of the witnesses who was supposed to testify on Oct.5 is Jaybee Sebastian, who today was stabbed together with Peter Co, who is also in critical condition. And another Co has since died. That means Jaybee Sebastian can no longer appear on Oct. 5,” Roque said, referring to the next scheduled hearing.

Sebastian was hospitalized and underwent surgery after being hurt in the prison riot, raising speculations the attack was connected to his testimony in the House inquiry.

“I can only take that this means there are forces that would want to prevent Jaybee Sebastian from testifying in Congress,” Roque said.

Roque said he would ask the law enforcement agencies to investigate De Lima for her possible hand in the incidents stalling the testimony of high-profile inmates at the Bilibid.

“I’ll ask law enforcement agencies like the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the possibility whether or not Leila De Lima is involved in the affairs of Muntinlupa,” Roque said.

“So far, most witnesses have only said damning things about Leila De Lima… I would like to know from law investigating agencies for her possible involvement that deprived the committee of a material witness in Oct. 5,” Roque added.

Roque said there is a strong case against De Lima for graft and violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, on top of principal by inducement or through participation in the alleged Bilibid drug trade.

“Principal by inducement, binebenta raw. That renders her possibly, according to the witnesses, a principal because she induced them. Secondly, the second provision in the Dangerous Drugs Act is criminalizing public officers who benefit from proceeds of drug trafficking. Clearly, there’s only one person who benefited from the drug trade. And that’s De Lima,” Roque said.

“Trading drugs is non bailable. I think it’s a strong case,” he added.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, however, said Sebastian was only willing to testify about the anomalies surrounding the food supply inside Bilibid and not the drug trade.

READ: Jaybee Sebastian wants to testify on food supply issue, not drug ties

House justice committee chairman Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said that even without Sebastian, the inquiry would still push through with the other witnesses – Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s alleged driver who collected drug money for her; De Lima’s security aide Joenel Sanchez, who allegedly served as De Lima’s bagman; former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayo; and former Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission Executive Director Reginald Villasanta.

READ: Sebastian may skip Bilibid hearing following prison riot

The next hearings are set from Oct. 5 to 7.

Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations Benjamin Magalong earlier testified that Villasanta was with Bucayo when the latter pleaded Magalong not to pursue with the PNP’s planned Bilibid raid, that was instead led by De Lima and the National Bureau of Investigation. Bucayo said he could get killed if the PNP pushed through with the raid.

READ: Solons raise eyebrows over De Lima’s NBP raid sparing Sebastian

De Lima’s raid allegedly spared Sebastian, although the former justice secretary said Sebastian was a government asset. She denied Sebastian raised campaign funds for her from the Bilibid drug trade. JE


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Duterte on drugs inside Bilibid: I would have declared martial law if I were the President then Published September 20, 2016 6:28pm Updated September 20, 2016 6:44pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

Had President Rodrigo Duterte been the chief executive when illegal drugs allegedly proliferated inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), he would have declared a martial law.

Duterte said this in a speech delivered before the 10th Infantry (Agila) Division in Mawab, Compostela Valley while urging the public to monitor the House probe on the drug trade within Bilibid supposedly during the time of Sen. Leila de Lima as Justice secretary.

“Saan tayo makakita a country allowing drug syndicates to operate inside the Muntinlupa and directing the traffic?” the President said.

“Sa totoo lang, kung ako ang president at [the] time, I would have declared martial law. Tutal there was really a rebellion dito eh. Nagpapatayan. We lose soldiers. Ako ngayon, I lose on the average two policemen a day kasali ang military because I have ordered you guys to join because of the widespread,” Duterte pointed out.

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The President previously invoked martial law after Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno sent a letter asking him to reveal his sources when he named seven judges linked to the narcotics trade.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also recalled that Duterte mulled declaring martial law after a bomb exploded in Roxas Night Market in his bailiwick Davao City which left 15 people dead.

Duterte's martial law remark in Compstela Valley came on the eve of the 44th anniversary of the late President Ferdinand Marcos' imposition of Martial Law throughout the country in 1972.

Marcos signed Proclamation 1081 or the Declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972. Marcos announced the declaration on television two days after.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also declared Martial Law in Maguindanao province in 2009 after the massacre of 57 people in Ampatuan town through Proclamation 1959. — RSJ/NB, GMA News

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS

INTERVIEW Matobato says he’s tired of running, ready to die Published September 30, 2016 10:30pm By MANUEL MOGATO, Reuters


MOTABATO AT SENTE GRILLING -A self-confessed Philippine hitman who testified that President Rodrigo Duterte had personally issued assassination orders while a city mayor said on Friday he was sorry for the dozens of people he had killed and was ready die for his sins.

Edgar Matobato, 57, told a Sept. 15 Senate hearing investigating Duterte's anti-crime crackdown he had killed more than 50 people while a member of a "death squad" in the southern city of Davao, when Duterte was mayor.

Since giving his testimony, Matobato has been living under the protection of a senator, guarded by former soldiers.

"I'm tired of running," Matobato told Reuters in an interview at a safe house in Manila. "I apologize to all the people I have wronged, those I killed."

The president has dismissed Matobato's allegations as fabrications.

Matobato appeared relaxed when he spoke about his life as a killer, and the reason for making his confessions in the Senate inquiry.

"My conscience is bothering me. I want to correct the mistakes and I want justice for those people," he said, referring to his victims.

He said another reason for the decision to come clean was that former colleagues had tried to frame him as a "fall guy" for the murder of a businessman.

It was up to God what happened to him now, he said.

"I don't care if I die now, I have accepted my fate... I just don't want to go to jail. They had better kill me, hang me for all my sins."

Duterte was voted to power in a May election vowing to wipe out drugs and corruption in the country of 100 million people.

He took office on June 30 and more than 3,100 people have been killed since then, most of them alleged drug users and dealers, in police operations and in vigilante killings.

Duterte has repeatedly denied involvement in vigilantism as either mayor or president.

'I was like a dog'

Matobato told the Senate hearing Duterte had once rushed to the scene after his men had clashed with an enemy and Duterte "finished him off" with a Uzi submachine gun.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre described Matobato's testimony as "lies, fabrications and a product of a fertile and a coached imagination".

Matobato told Reuters he could not read or write and had virtually no education. He said for years he had felt like a hunter, preying on petty criminals and drug addicts.

"All my life, I was like a dog being sent here and there and made to do things. I obeyed them, no questions asked.

"My only appeal is spare my family," he said, tears welling.

He said he was being looked after but was frustrated with his life in hiding.

"It's very difficult," he said. "I can't go where I want to go. I only stay here all day.

"I'm tired of this life." —Reuters


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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