THE Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights conducted an inquiry into the alleged ‘VIP treatment’ given to a high-profile drug detainee who is currently under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Sen. Francis N. Tolentino, the panel chair, spearheaded a ‘motu propio’ investigation in connection with the supposed unauthorised activities of drug suspect Jad Dera outside the NBI Custodial Center in Manila.
Dera and six members of the NBI security personnel, who served as the former’s jail guards, were arrested inside the NBI Compound last June 21 after it was found out that the drug suspect was able to leave his detention cell in Ermita, Manila for about four hours just to eat in a hotel together with his partner.
“Gusto natin malaman dito, Director, kung papaano po ito nangyayari—na kahit walang court order, kahit walang justification, kahit walang dahilan, medical man o hindi—ay nakakapunta ng Tagaytay, Calatagan sa Batangas, at maging sa high-class restaurants dito sa Metro Manila ang isang high-profile detainee,” Tolentino asked NBI Director Medardo De Lemos.
Initial investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) disclosed that Dera allegedly bribed NBI personnel assigned at the bureau’s Security Division to be able to leave jail and go outside for whatever reason.
The six jail guards reportedly even joined the detained drug suspect in a dinner inside an undisclosed hotel in Makati City.
It was also revealed that the incident was not the first time that Dera was allowed to furlough outside the premises of the NBI.
Dera reportedly even went to Tagaytay City, a day before he and the assigned jail guards were caught.
During Wednesday’s inquiry, Dera who was subpoenaed by Tolentino’s panel, admitted to members of the committee that he indeed was able to get outside the premises of the NBI in Manila for at least four instances without any proper order from any court.
Five of the arrested jail guards told the Senate panel that they were just following orders from their immediate supervisor Randy Godoy, whom they alleged was also the person calling the shots every time Dera had a trip outside of the NBI compound.
Godoy, meanwhile, suggested that he was merely following orders from NBI Security Division Chief Adrian Feudo.
Feudo refused to answer the allegations, saying he has yet to consult a lawyer of his choice.
The DoJ had transferred Feudo into another area of assignment, pending internal investigation.
Dera has been charged with multiple criminal charges, including violation of Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code. The six guards were charged with Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.