Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Sunday linked Sen. Leila De Lima to the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
In an interview on radio dzBB, Aguirre called De Lima the "common denominator" in the killing of a Cebu policeman who allegedly squealed on narco-generals; the fatal stabbing of alleged drug lord Tony Co inside New Bilibid Prison; and Espinosa's shooting on Saturday.
Aguirre did not name the policeman killed in Cebu, but Police Officer 2 Ryan del Castillo was found dead in Lapu-Lapu City last August after accusing Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo and retired Chief Superintendent and now Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot for illegal drug involvement.
"Ang lahat nang ito ay parang may common denominator... Ang protector at mga involved dito ay yung mga drug lords at protectors nito na pinangungunahan, ayon sa affidavit na ginawa ni Mayor Rolando Espinosa, si Sen. De Lima," Aguirre said.
Aguirre said that De Lima was the first person listed by Espinosa in his affidavit of illegal drug coddlers.
"May affidavit si Mayor Rolando Espinosa; tinuro niya yung mga taong involved sa droga. Ang number one na enumerated niya ay si De Lima. Iisipin mo na although pulis o CIDG gumawa niyan, puwede din naman na talagang gamitin, nagpapagamit yang mga pulis na 'yan para patahimikin yung puwede mag-squeal sa kanila," he said.
Aguirre, who was in Las Vegas to watch Sen. Manny Pacquaio's fight, said that Espinosa's affidavit can no longer be used against any person because of his death.
CIDG Region 8 operatives led by Chief Inspector Leo Laraga killed Espinosa and drug suspect Raul Yap inside their jail cells while serving search warrants at the Baybay, Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail early Saturday.
Laraga claimed that they shot Espinosa and Yap in self-defense.
Aguirre said even NBP high-profile inmates, such as Jaybee Sebastian, who testified at the House probe on the proliferation of illegal drugs, attested to De Lima's influence.
"Bago magkaroon ng hearing diyan sa House committee on justice ay itong mga high profile inmates ay nagsabi na si Sen. De Lima rin ang protector sa laganap na bentahan ng droga diyan sa NBP. Dapat talagang sisirin ng malalim ito para malaman ang tunay na katotohanan," he said.
Meanwhile, Aguirre ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a parallel investigation into Espinosa's killing.
"Medyo malalim ang mga pangyayaring ito and kahapon nga ay in-oder ko through my undersecretary na gumawa ng parallel investigation ang NBI para maiwasan ang whitewash dito sapagkat napakaraming circumstances sa pagkamatay ni Mayor Espinosa na dapat imbestigahan," he said.
He said several circumstances which led to the death of Espinosa should be investigated.
"Inutusan ko na sapagkat mahirap ang ganyan na suspicious ang circumstances na pabayaan natin. Kailangan talagang matutukan natin kung ano talaga ang totoo," Aguirre added.
The Philippine National Police's (PNP) Internal Affairs Service has vowed to conduct an "independent and impartial investigation" into the killing of Espinosa and Yap. — BM, GMA News