Convicted kidnapper and high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian died of COVID-19, an officer of Panteon de Dasmariñas, where he was cremated.
The officer said members and police officers from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) brought Sebastian’s body last Saturday at around 9:22 pm. The authorities told the crematorium officer that they would pick up the ashes on Sunday afternoon.
Sebastian’s death certificate showed he passed away on Saturday, 10:15 am at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Hospital, NBP Reservation, Barangay Poblacion, Muntinlupa City.
The certificate also showed Sebastian died of acute myocardial infarction related to COVID-19.
No one from the BuCor, NBP, nor the Department of Justice (DoJ) confirmed Sebastian’s death though rumors that he died began to spread on Saturday.
Police arrested Sebastian in the early 2000s over kidnapping and carjacking charges. He was detained at the Manila City Jail, pending a decision on the cases against him.
While in Manila jail, he became the overall supervisor of the Sigue Sigue Commando prison gang. After he was convicted in 2009, he was transferred to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa.
At the NBP, Sebastian reportedly led Presidio, one of the two prison gangs involved in the illegal drug trade. The other drug group was Carcel, directed by Herbert Colanggo, also a convicted kidnapper.
Sebastian played a significant role during the Senate investigation on the alleged involvement of Senator Leila de Lima, who is now detained. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II accused Sebastian of running a three-year funding campaign to support de Lima’s senatorial bid in 2016 in exchange for their continuous drug operation inside NBP.
On September 28, 2016, Chinese drug lord Tony Co was killed in a stabbing incident while Jaybee Sebastian and two other inmates were injured in NBP Building 14.
BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag, in a statement, said Sunday that there were Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) who succumbed to the disease.
Bantag, however, could not release the names of PDLs due to the provisions of the data privacy act prohibit.
The BuCor chief assured the public that they are doing everything to address COVID-19 inside prisons.
“In fact, we have a high rate of recovery, and we are glad to report to the public that all our interventions appear to be doing well and effective,” Bantag said.