President Duterte yesterday agreed with the testimony of high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when Sen. Leila de Lima was justice secretary. 

“Tama na ‘yung sinabi ni Jaybee Sebastian.Ang umabot lang diyan sa loob ngpenitentiary, konsumo lang nila ‘yan ngayon(what Jaybee Sebastian said is right. What reaches the penitentiary now is just for their consumption),” Duterte said during the oath-taking rites for the League of Municipalities of the Philippines at MalacaƱang.

“But in the past, they were actually into it, cooking inside and selling to their market, Metro Manila up to Cavite,” he added.

In his testimony at the inquiry of the House of Representatives on Monday, Sebastian bared how he ran drug operations while being detained in the NBP. He said he acted as intermediary between Chinese drug detainees and local contacts in the operations.

Duterte said Sebastian’s testimony bolstered his earlier claims that drug operations were prevalent not just at the NBP, but also in other penal colonies and the drugs from the prisons reached the cities.

“Ask a superintendent or warden. It is being operated all throughout the Philippines (by) just using cellphone. Be it in ParaƱaque or in Davao Penal Colony,” he added.

The President also slammed anew De Lima, saying she opened the portals of government to narco-politics. 

“It started with De Lima,” he said.

Duterte has yet to make public the long list of local officials linked to drug operations. The list includes 3,600 elected barangay captains and 6,000 erring policemen.

 ‘Simple solutions’

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III proposed yesterday what he said where two simple solutions to end the drug trade in the NBP.

In his privilege speech, Sotto noted the much-publicized inquiry in the House into the proliferation of drugs at the NBP where it was discovered that drug convicts were not only living it up but were continuing the illegal drug trade.

“I know the expression Mr. President, ‘great problems need great remedies.’ However, I stand before you today, to propose a new strategy: ‘great problems, simple remedies,” he said.

Sotto pointed out that since drug convicts during the inquiry admitted that transactions on illegal drugs are primarily done through mobile phones, the simple solutions are the immediate passage of Senate Bill 7 or the SIM card Registration Act, and Senate Bill 1 on relocation of prisons for drug lords through the creation of the Anti-Drug Penal Institution.

SB 7 intends to be an effective remedial measure to mandate cellular service providers to require the registration of all prepaid cell phone subscribers by asking valid ID at purchase. 


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