Following the trail in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) abominations that turned the national penitentiary into the largest den of criminals in the world may reveal the single biggest mystery facing this administration, which is who the powerful forces behind detained Senator and NBP overlord Leila de Lima are.
Sen. Richard Gordon said retired Police General now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong will be among the resource persons that he wanted present during the next public hearings on the NBP scandal, and the former cop is expected to peel away at the intricate De Lima network.
In the previous hearings on the De Lima shabu operations at the NBP, the missing link to the dominating hand controlling the then Justice secretary was was former Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy director general Marcelo Garbo Jr. who nearly clinched the PNP chief post as he was strongly backed by the Liberal Party (LP).
The victory of Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte in the 2016 race revealed the near catastrophe that would have befallen the country had Garbo controlled the PNP.
Two months after winning the presidency, Rody named Garbo, chief superintendents Bernardo Diaz, Vicente Loot, Edgardo Tinio and Joel Pagdilao as drugs trade protectors.
The retired police general was the former PNP deputy chief for operations and Regional Director of PNP Region VII based in Cebu City. He belongs to PMA class 1981. Rody named Garbo as the kingpin of the narco generals.
Rody dared the Ilonggos prior to the midterm polls last May to “vote for Roxas, so we would know if he can do something against illegal drugs.”
“This Garbo, I don’t know where he is, that idiot. You know Garbo was the police aide, senior aide of Roxas. This Garbo, he’s handling drugs in Visayas. That’s the police you always see near Roxas,” Rody had said.
Garbo was a key personality in the operations of the NBP drugs factory controlled by De Lima.
Magalong, who was the former PNP deputy chief for operations for the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, had previously stated that Garbo was among the police officials who preempted Oplan “Cronus” of the CIDG and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to raid the shabu production facility inside the maximum security prison.
De Lima, Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayo; Chief Supt. Reginald Villasanta, then executive director of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, and Garbo took over the NBP raid, which was mainly for show and avoided the untouchables who were the high-profile inmates who are in league with De Lima.
Magalong wondered why the raid left behind some drug lords.
“It was our mandate to conduct the raid and then we were dropped at the last minute. Oplan ‘Cronus’ was supposed to isolate high-value inmates to get rid of the worsening drug trade in the NBP, but others were left out,” Magalong said.
Later on, former Justice secretary Vitalliano Aguirre revealed that the De Lima-led raid was meant to ease out the competition of drug lord Jaybee Sebastian at the NBP.
Aguirre, who will also be invited to the Senate hearing, is also expected to pin Garbo to De Lima. Aguirre had indicated links of Garbo to the NBP drug lords who have placed a bounty on the head of Rody of P50 million.
Former PNP chief now Sen. Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa said drug lords in the NBP had offered P10 million each for his and Duterte’s heads, but since there were no takers, it was raised to P50 million each.
Garbo was frequently seen with the LP, barnstorming for its candidate Mar Roxas during the campaign for the 2016 polls.
Rody said during the recent campaigns, “Nobody in the horizon of the political arena was talking about the seriousness of the drug problem. Nobody was talking about the number of crimes committed against the innocent and hapless civilians, everywhere.”
“If I didn’t win, the Philippines would be in danger. Why? I’ll tell you. Garbo was the aide of Roxas,” he said.
Rody said the involvement of police officials in the drug trade prompted him to run under the agenda of eradicating the drugs menace.
Aguirre also gave a cryptic statement about who the persons are behind the detained senator by quoting De Lima: “When they said that there is somebody higher than me, are they trying to say that… is my President also a beneficiary of these things? You know? PNoy? (These accusations are) very outlandish, very outrageous. They are becoming so reckless… it’s getting to be laughable.” Aguirre noted that naming former President Noynoy Aquino in the NBP racket “came from the horse’s mouth.”
The trail that started from the botched Good Conduct Time Allowance ruse on detained former Calauan City mayor Antonio Sanchez is leading to the uncovering of the most outrageous yellow racket ever.