The Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation (the country's equivalent of the FBI) is investigating allegations that California State Senator was brokering a deal to buy firearms in the country and smuggle them into the United States.
The country's Justice Secretary, Leila De Lima confirmed on Wednesday that the NBI is already looking into the circumstances surrounding the alleged arms deal. While De Lima was not aware of any request for assistance to the Philippine government by U.S. law enforcement agencies, she said the NBI is already verifying some of the facts alleged in the case against Yee. Specifically the government is verifying the travel of the Senator in country.
"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."
De Lima also confirmed that the NBI has already produced an initial report on the matter but refused to disclose its findings.
No doubt De Lima is looking into accusations that a high ranking member of Philippines military was supplying arms to rebels in the Southern Islands of the country, and that Yee through an intermediary named Wilson Lim, who used to be based in the southern city of Mindanao but now living in California. Lim allegedly had contacts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who would supply 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 had sold guns to individuals in the past and had successfully managed to bring guns to the United States from Cagayan de Oro City.
Earlier this week Senator Yee pled not guilty to seven charges including one count of "conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license and illegally import firearms," and six counts of "engaging in a scheme to defraud citizens of honest services." He is scheduled to appear in court on Friday before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer.