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Jaybee Sebastian denies being a gov’t asset


Convict Jaybee Sebastian denied Monday that he was a government asset as earlier claimed by Senator Leila de Lima.

“No. Yun ang gusto kong linawin dito,” Sebastian told Rep. Reynaldo Umali, House committee on justice chairman, when asked on the matter.

Later opon questioning by Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, Sebastian said he has no idea why De Lima claimed he was tapped as a government asset.

"Parang gusto niya ko mamatay sa Bldg. 14 [inside the New Bilibid Prison]. Biruin ninyo, nanunuod kami, sasabihin niya asset ako. Kung totoo man, bakit niya sasabihin iyon. Delikado talaga buhay ko," Sebastian said.

The Bilibid inmate also said it would be stupid for him to squeal on his fellow inmates.

"Kung ako po ang masuusnod... kung ako ang tatanungin na tama ba na maglista ako ng mga pangalan at ilipat sila at ma-identiy na sa akin galing [ang listahan], hindi po ba katangahan iyan sa akin," said Sebastian.

Sebastian's fellow inmates earlier told the House panel that he was responsible for the transfer of the so-called "Bilibid 19" high-profile inmates to the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila, following a raid inside the NBP in December 2014.

During his testimony, Sebastian was accompanied by his legal counsel, laywer Eduardo Arriba.

Meanwhile in an interview, De Lima said Sebastian was pressured by authorities to pin her down.

On Sebastian's denial of him being a government asset, De Lima said it was to be expected.

“Hindi niya kasi pwedeng aminin 'yan dahil nga, ginagawa na rin siyang sinungaling including yung ganyang paratang na may pera silang ibinigay sa’kin,” she said.

P2M for De Lima 

Prior to his testimony, Arriba said his client would be testifying among others, that Sebastian gave former De Lima P2 million after the Dec. 15, 204 raid at the NBP, and another P2 million after the grenade blast at the NBP on Jan. 8, 2015.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, however, said the Department of Justice is still not convinced that Sebastian should be placed under the Witness Protection Program.

"There are many things more that they should testify on and if he could convince the DOJ, we might consider him putting him under the WPP of the department. Pero as of today, sa panignin namin kulang po," said Aguirre.

Asked by the panel, Sebastian said he is interested in seeking immunity for his testimony. The panel recommended granting immunity to Sebastian.

Sebastian had been accused as the one who supposedly pooled money inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) for De Lima's 2016 senatorial bid.

De Lima has repeatedly denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade.

It was during her press briefing on Sept. 22. that De Lima disclosed that Sebastian was a government asset.

"Why I’m saying he’s an asset is to dispel yung mga maling haka-haka, insinuations that the reason why hindi muna siya sinama sa Bilibid 19 is because favored, protektado and lalo na yung insinuations na yan siya kumolekta ng pera [para] sa akin,” she said. 

De Lima then dared the House committee investigating the alleged illegal drug operations inside the NBP to invite Sebastian to the probe.

“Let him address that. If he wants to testify, let him address that,” she said. — RSJ, GMA News

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