FORMER National Capital Region Police chief, now Philippine National Police Chief Directorial Staff, Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, yesterday defended the demolition of illegal structures inside the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City saying these semi-concrete facilities have been serving as ‘haven’ for contraband including drugs, weapons, cell phones and cigarettes being smuggled into the sprawling prison compound.
The former Metro Manila police chief issued the statement amid an outcry from some groups that the demolition of the structures have supposedly left hundreds of inmates including sick ones without sleeping quarters,
“The point is itong illegal structures they serve as haven, ito ang taguan ng mga loko sa Bilibid. Bago ka magconduct ng inspection ang dami nilang way para itago d’yan. Kung tatanggalin ‘yun mas madali ngayon ang pag-iinspect sa kanila,” Eleazar told the Journal Group.
The official said that despite claims by several groups that the structures were constructed by moneyed convicts to help the Bureau of Corrections in providing adequate shelter for the NBP prisoners, the public must understand that allowing the construction of shanties gave control to inmates.
“Ang nangyari parang sila na ang may control eh. Pag nakita mo ‘yun, parang barangay na may maze o labyrinth d’yan eh. Pwedeng pagpasok ng BuCor personnel maliligaw ka, pwedeng saksakin ka na lang dyan sa loob kasi all the contraband are there,” he explained.
“In the first place illegal ‘yung structures na nandun eh so whether matitino ang PDL (persons deprived of liberty) na nandoon, in the first place dapat wala ‘yun.”
BuCor and PNP authorities have maintained that convicts including Chinese drug lords serving time at the national penitentiary have managed to continue their illegal activities by bribing rogue jail personnel.
The official also said that during his stint with the NCRPO, many of their major anti-narcotics operations which yielded huge volume of shabu were triggered by information that many big-time drug suppliers in Metro Manila were getting their stuff from jailed drug lords.
to deceive, dismissal po sa serbisyo ang katapat ng kaso nila,” Sinas said.
However, he said they are still investigating if the cigarettes, liquor and mobile phones recovered from the two were to be sold to NBP inmates.
Sinas said he has ordered the immediate relief of 16 NCRPO police officers who reportedly trafficked contraband at the NBP to pave the way for a fair and formal fact-finding investigation
He assigned the NCRPO Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division to spearhead the investigation of the 16.
The NCRPO director also clarified that the 16 are not part of the 551 NCRPO personnel which were initially fielded to guard the critical areas of NBP.
“instead, they are part of the teams sent to augment troops tasked to demolish shanties and other illegal structures and confiscate contraband inside the Maximum-Security Compound,” he said.
Following the incident, Sinas said that the composite teams which were initially fielded to the NBP were replaced by the personnel from the mobile reaction unit of NCRPO – the Regional Mobile Force Battalion.
“Henceforth, preparations are underway for this anticipated changing of guards. We will keep a keen eye on our men assigned at the state penitentiary to avoid corruption and spurn possible bribes from inmates inside the country’s main insular penitentiary,” he said.
“Our authority can never be and should never be an instrument of any form of abuse. If proven with guilt, they will have to face appropriate administrative cases for we will never tolerate delinquency and misconduct; Discipline must prevail,” Sinas said.
NBP insiders said that liquor fetches a very high price inside the NBP with imported ones being sold to as low as P10,000 to as much as P20,000 per liter.
Sinas said that the unfortunate incident has prompted his resolve to replace the NCRPO personnel fielded at the NBP every month to prevent the possibility they would be corrupted by moneyed inmates.
“I want to replace the NCRPO guards at the national penitentiary every month to avoid the big possibility they may be corrupted and are tempted to take bribes being offered by drug lords and other moneyed inmates inside the country’s main penitentiary,” Sinas said.