By Mario Casayuran
Pro-administration Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go warned yesterday rich drug lords serving time at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City to cease their illegal practices ‘’or else they will suffer dire consequences.’’
The former Special Assistant to the President (Duterte) noted in last Thursday’s public hearing by the Senate Blue Ribbon and justice committees that drug lords were taking advantage of the “hospital pass for sale” scheme to escape jail congestion and conduct their drug deals inside the NBP Hospital.
Go confirmed that some high-profile prisoners were bribing officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in order to be admitted and confined at the national penitentiary hospital where they are able to continue with their criminal activities.
They stay at the NBP hospital feigning sicknesses, stay there for months where they can control the flow of illegal drugs outside the prison premises through cell phones. These cellphones are, in turn, illegally brought by confederates into the facility where they are also even allowed to hold parties in the company of local and foreign women and conduct other illegal activities.
Go said they have received reports that some inmates were moved to the NBP Hospital by buying the so-called ‘hospital referral pass’ from BuCor employees.
He emphasized that justice must be served in regard to these corruption scandals and anomalies at by the country’s correctional facilities.
‘’The guilty should be made to answer for their illegal acts inside NBP. The suspension of officials involved must continue. Almost 30 officials have already been suspended,” Go said.
Last Monday, the Office of the Ombudsman suspended 27 BuCor personnel for six months without pay for gross misconduct and gross neglect of duty over the convicts’ release.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said his agency received the Ombudsman’s order last Tuesday.
The DOJ has directed BuCor Director Melvin Buenafe to serve the notices of preventive suspension and “implement it immediately, he said.
“We will confer with the (BuCor) officer-in-charge and find ways to continue normal operations with the least disruption,” Guevarra said.
Go warned that even the doctors and other staff of the NBP Hospital face the chopping block should they be found involved in the corruption schemes.
‘’Even the doctors and other staff of the NBP Hospital, when proven guilty, will not be spared from the ongoing government clearing operations,” Go said.