• Thirty witnesses will be presented by the DOJ on Day 1 of the House inquiry on the illegal drug trade inside the NBP
• DOJ Secretary Aguirre said the witnesses have been given immunity from suit to encourage them to open up
• The probe will start on Tuesday, September 20

Thirty witnesses will be presented by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the first day of the congressional probe on the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said Monday, September 19.

“We will be presenting at least 30 witnesses and resource persons on Day 1 alone to establish the why, the how, the where, the when and most importantly, the who, and the how much on the proliferation of prohibited drugs in our prisons,” the Justice Secretary said in a press conference.

As noted by Sun Star, Aguirre replied in the affirmative when asked by media members if the 30 witnesses, including several NBP inmates, are credible witnesses against Senator Leila De Lima.

“Kahit ikaw ay na-convict na as a drug trader, hindi nangangahulugan na ang sasabihin mo ay hindi na paniniwalaan. Yun po’ng mga crime katulad ng perjury, pagsisinungaling, iyan ang di dapat paniwalaan,” Aguirre said.

[When you are convicted as a drug trader that does not mean that what you will say won’t be believed. Those accused of perjury and lying are the ones that should not be believed]

The Justice Secretary shared that the witnesses to be presented have been given immunity from suit.

“Whatever they will say, hindi sila maaaring idemanda (they could not be sued). It could not be used against them,” he said.

Aguirre explained that the immunity from suit is necessary to encourage them to open up, especially the inmates.

The congressional inquiry will start on Tuesday, September 20.