De Lima got P1.5-M drug money in shoebox, inmate tells court

MANILA – A former policeman serving his prison sentence at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) testified on the drug case against detained Senator Leila de Lima before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 256 on Tuesday.

Engelbert Durano, was presented by Senior Assistant City Prosecutor (SACP) Leila Llanes for cross-examination and redirect examination in connection with the delivery of PHP1.5 million drug money to de Lima in 2014, Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Darwin Cañete told newsmen at the end of Tuesday’s trial.

The money was placed inside a shoebox from Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, a drug lord based in Cebu where Durano was also a policeman at the time. Diaz was subsequently killed in Las Piñas in 2016.

“Durano also testified on his connection with Dayan. We are hoping that it will help our case proving the guilt of the accused,” Cañete said, referring to Ronnie Dayan, de Lima’s driver-bodyguard and alleged bagman.

The Muntinlupa court also asked for a written explanation from prison officials on why Durano failed to attend the hearing last Nov. 24 even as Durano said he was picked up by prison guards around 1:30 p.m. of that day to attend the hearing.

Durano was mistakenly brought to the court inside the NBP compound instead of the Muntinlupa Hall of Justice where the court is hearing de Lima’s case.

Cañete said the prosecution panel will be determining whether to present another witness, Noel Martinez, who is also serving a prison sentence in Muntinlupa.

He added that the petition for indirect contempt they filed against the lawmaker for violating the so-called sub judice rule will be raffled shortly to a court that would hear the same.

De Lima’s defense counsels filed a third petition for bail before a Muntinlupa court to allow her temporary liberty.

The senator is facing drug charges involving allegations of receiving millions of pesos from drug lords at the NBP when she was still justice secretary. (PNA)