- DOJ Secretary denied senator’s accusations that Bilibid riot was state-sponsored
- He said only De Lima would benefit from the death of Jaybee Sebastian
- However, BuCor said riot was spontaneous and un-orchestrated
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III denied Sen. Leila de Lima’s accusations of the Bilibid being state-sponsored and said it was she who stood to benefit had Jaybee Sebastian been killed.
“We want Jaybee alive than dead. Sino’ng gustong patayin si Jaybee? Hindi ba pag namatay si Jaybee, sino magbe-benefit? Hindi ba si De Lima? Kasi mawawalan ng connect sa kanya na magte-testify,” GMA News quoted him as saying.
[We want Jaybee alive than dead. Who wants to kill Jaybee? Is it not that if Jaybee dies, then who benefits? Would it not be De Lima? Because there would be one less connection (to the Bilibid drug trade) who will testify against her.]
De Lima earlier claimed that the riot was part of the administration’s way of threatening inmates to testify against her.
“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,” she said.
BuCor: Riot Spontaneous, Unplanned
Amid Aguirre and De Lima’s claims, however, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) shot down any indications that the riot which left high-profile inmate Tony Co dead and Sebastian wounded was orchestrated to off the latter.
“Riots are usual occurrences in prisons na ganito ang itsura, na kulang ang pasilidad at personnel, at hindi segregated properly ang inmates [Riots are usual occurrences in prisons like this, which have a shortage of facilities and personnel, and where inmates are not properly segregated.],” BuCor officer-in-charge Rolando Asuncion said.