Senate cites three BuCor officials in contempt for lying during GCTA hearing

Published September 12, 2019, 7:07 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Hannah Torregoza

The Senate justice and human rights and the blue ribbon committee has cited in contempt three Bureau of Correction (BuCor) officials whom senators found are lying to the upper chamber.

Senate of the Philippines building (Senate of the Philippines official Facebook)
Senate of the Philippines building (Senate of the Philippines official Facebook)

Sen. Richard Gordon – chair of both committees which is investigating the anomalies in the BuCor brought to the fore following the botched release of 11,000 high-profile inmates due to the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law – cited in contempt Ramoncito “Chito” Roque, chief of the documents and record sections; Ursicio D. Cenas, medical officer at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) hospital; and Fredric Anthony Santos, legal division chief of the BuCor, at the continuation of the panel’s hearing on the GCTA law.

Roque had earlier denied asking P50,000 from Yolanda Camilon to facilitate the early release of her husband Godfrey Gamboa, which did not materialize.

Camilon and Gamboa claimed the “GCTA for sale” was pervasive in the NBP but only moneyed inmates benefit from the GCTA law.

Cenas, on the other hand, was one of the NBP doctors who was invited to the Senate probe to shed light on allegations that hospital passes are also being bought at a price by high-profile inmates so they can transact illegal drugs at the NBP hospital by feigning they are ill.

Former Valencia City Mayor Jose Galario, who was convicted of graft, appeared at the Senate hearing and accused Cenas of accepting money in exchange for medical records.

According to Galario, he had to pay Cenas P1,000 each time he requests for either a medical abstract or certification.

His daughter, Griezl Fernandez, who was also present at the hearing backed his claims, saying she personally handed money to Cenas whenever she requests for a prescription for her father.

Cenas, however, vehemently denied the allegations, when pressed by Senators Christopher “Bong” Go and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, but he failed to convince the senators.

Santos was scored for his incompetence as legal chief of the BuCor.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson had earlier questioned Santos over his supposed “jamming” with inmates inside the Building 14 in the NBP where the high-profile inmates are housed.