‘Tilapia’ sells for P30K in Bilibid

September 12, 2019

AT least seven money making schemes inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) were exposed during a Senate hearing yesterday.

During the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Hearing on Good Conduct Time Allowances (GCTA) for sale, former BuCor Officer in Charge Rafael Ragos narrated some alleged corruption activities.

Ragos was among those who testified against Senator Leila de Lima in her drug cases, who has been detained over drug charges.

“Sa loob ng maximum, maraming unusal transactions regarding money-making. For example, yung ’tilapia,’ nakakapagpasok sila dyan,” Ragos said as a response to Senator Panfilo Lacson’s queries.

Ragos said that tilapia is a code name for a woman and he was referring to women spending nights inside Bilibid for a fee.

Ragos said high-profile inmates are paying P30,000 for every “tilapia” for an overnight stay inside the Bilibid.

“Nagpapasok ng babae, yun ang ginagamit nung high profile. Nag-eenjoy sila dun sa mga babae,” Ragos said.

Some of these women, he said, later became either a girlfriend or a wife of these high-profile inmates.

And these women of high-profile inmates would also end up victims of kidnapping allegedly orchestrated by their fellow inmates and their police-friends outside the Bilibid.

The kidnappings are the second money-making scheme in the Bilibid.

Ragos explained that the inmates’ girlfriends or wives would be abducted once they stepped outside the Bilibid.

“Ang alam ko ang mga involved may mga pulis pa na ka-batch nung mga nakalulong na dating pulis o kaibigan nila, then kini-kidnap yun,” the former officer said.

“Ang negotiation nasa loob for release,” Ragos added.

He said the victims would be eventually freed after paying ransom amounting to P200,000 or more.

Aside from the “tilapia” and kidnapping rackets, Ragos also disclosed that a building or a kubol in Bilibid was being used for  gambling by inmates.

“May isang building dun, halos 24 hours ang sugalan nila dun. Marami kasing pera sa loob eh,” he said.

Even the food allowance for inmates has become a source of corruption in Bilibid.

During his time as BuCor head, Ragos said a friend would give P800,000 a month for the office of the BuCor’s chief.

Meanwhile, according to NBI Intelligence officer Jovencio Ablen Jr., the alleged money-making rackets inside the NBP rake in from P300,00 to P500,000 a week.

“Ang personal knowledge ko lang, ‘yong ang mga pinarating sa ‘kin, minimum 300,000 to 500,000 thousand a week. ‘Yong mga pinapaabot,” Ablen said.

Ablen was one of those who testified against former justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, who is being detained for drug charges.