THE Justice Department is investigating allegations that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV may have something to do with the threats on the life of Jaybee Sebastian, the inmate who has accused Senator Leila de Lima of taking money from drug lords jailed in the national penitentiary.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II made this disclosure Tuesday after another inmate, Tomas Donina, filed an affidavit saying that a former colleague from the Navy asked him to help silence Sebastian to stop him from speaking against De Lima.
Donina stabbed Sebastian during a riot inside the New Bilibid Prison on Sept. 28, 2016, but Sebastian survived the attack.
“He [Donina] mentioned the participation of Trillanes and De Lima in his affidavit,” Aguirre said in a media briefing.
He did not identify the naval officer who ordered Sebastian’s killing, however.
Informed of Aguirre’s claim, Trillanes denied accusations he was involved in the incident.
“I categorically deny any involvement in the stabbing incident of JB Sebastian. Why would I even do that?” said Trillanes in a text message to reporters, branding Aguirre’s statement as “totally absurd.”
“Anyway, Aguirre and his gang better get their stories straight because we will have a full blown Senate inquiry to get the truth out,” warned Trillanes.
Aguirre admitted the allegations implicating Trillanes and De Lima to the incident were not backed by sufficient evidence but said he was convinced of the threat on Sebastian’s life and this was the reason he was transferred to the National Bureau of Investigation detention facility in Manila.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez supported the assertion of Aguirre that there are persons who want to silence Sebastian, who had earlier told the House justice committee that De Lima collected drug money from drug lords in Bilibid to bankroll her senatorial run in the last elections.
De Lima already denied that she had anything to do with the stabbing incident.
Aguirre acknowledged that Donina did not provide any proof to substantiate his claim, which was why the police did not include Trillanes or De Lima in the charges for the attack on Sebastian.
“There is no evidence to pursue a case against the senators named,” Aguirre said.
He also noted that Donina’s stabbing of Sebastian on Sept. 28 was separate and unrelated to a stabbing attack carried out by inmates Clarence Dongail and Edgar Cinco on convicted drug lords Tony Co and Peter Co, which killed only Tony.
Earlier, Aguirre said De Lima had been tagged in threats against Sebastian that led to his transfer from the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City to the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila City last week.
On Oct. 10, Sebastian testified before the House that De Lima took P14 million in drug payments through her former aide, Joenel Sanchez and former Bureau of Correction director Franklin Bucayu, during her tenure as Justice secretary in the previous administration.
Several other inmates corroborated his testimony and said they sold drugs through their contacts outside the prison to raise funds for De Lima in her senatorial campaign.