De Lima: NBI looking into US senator's gun smuggling links to PHL
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines -- Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on Wednesday confirmed that the National Bureau of Investigation is looking into the circumstances behind the attempt of California state Senator Leland Yee to smuggle high-powered firearms from the Philippines to the United States.
While De Lima is not sure if the United States government made a request for assistance to the Philippine government, she said the NBI is already verifying some facts about the case, especially the travel of Yee in the Philippines.
"I'm not sure if there is already an official request coming from the US government probably coursed through our Interpol-NBI, but of course it is something that interests us," she said.
"We are looking into certain facts, certain information as narrated in that news item...The NBI is doing some verification but as to exactly what these are, we cannot disclose it to you. That's whether or not there is an official US request we felt that it is important to us also to try to verify especially the supposed travel of that US Senator here in the Philippines," she added.
Likewise, De Lima said the NBI already has an initial report on the matter. However, she refused to disclose its details.
Yee was arrested by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on charges of corruption and alleged conspiracy to smuggle and trade firearms from the Philippines.
The FBI said that Yee was in touch with one Wilson Lim who used to be based in Mindanao but is now living in California.
Lim allegedly had contacts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the high-powered firearms that would be smuggled into the United States.
According to the FBI, Yee also disclosed to an undercover agent that the source of the weapons was a Filipino citizen who previously sold guns to individuals, and even managed to bring guns to the United States from Cagayan de Oro City.