Senate set to probe reported death due to COVID-19 of Jaybee Sebastian, other inmates

(Eagle News) — The Senate is set to probe the reported death due to COVID-19 of high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian who was a key witness against senator Leila De Lima’s alleged involvement in drug dealing inside the New Bilibid Prisons.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said he will file a resolution to investigate JB’s death, as well as the death of other inmates inside the national penitentiary due to COVID-19.

“I’m filing a reso investigating the deaths in the NBP.  Too many unanswered questions…  Why (were there) no autopsies?  Were relatives informed?  Why was the DOJ not informed?” he said in a statement.

Later in the day, on Monday, July 20, Sotto filed Senate Resolution No. 468, for a Senate probe on the deaths of 21 inmates at the NBP whose cause of death was allegedly due to COVID-19 related complications.

“Due to unclear, inaccurate and unverified reports, speculations are now being made as to whether or not these NBP inmates actually died due to COVID-19,” he said in the resolution.

Inmate Sebastian died on July 18 allegedly due to COVID-19, according to the Bureau of Corrections. His remains were immediately cremated following COVID-19 protocols.

In 2016, Sebastian filed a complaint for graft and indirect bribery against De Lima with the Department of Justice alleging that the lady senator, when she was still Justice Secretary asked him to fund her senate bid through her former aide Joenel Sanchez.

De Lima has denied the allegations and claimed that Sebastian was a government asset, and was just forced to file a complaint against her by the Duterte administration.

One of the drug charges filed in court against De Lima concerned allegations of illegal drug trading where Sebastian was a key witness.

(with a report from Meanne Corvera, Eagle News Service)