By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City are reportedly hiring inmates to kill their targets outside the state penitentiary, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Friday.
Sotto, citing “direct information” from insiders, claimed that corruption and criminal activities in the Bilibid extend to as far as letting some prisoners out of jail briefly to do a job for high-profile convicts.
“Papayagan lumabas, may gagawin, may patitira ‘yong mga drug lord, ibabalik sa loob, walang huli (Inmates will be allowed to go out of jail, they are asked to do something, drug lords will hire them to kill someone, then go back inside. So no one is arrested),” Sotto said in a phone interview with reporters.
Aside from drug trafficking and murder, the Senate chief said he was told that inmates were instructed to do “all sorts of criminal activities.”
“[They are] allowing criminal activities outside tapos balik sa loob (then they will return to prison),” he said.
Aside from tapping inmates as hired killers, Sotto said he learned that some of the inmates in the NBP are no longer supposed to be there.
“Kaya ang dami nila, eh. ‘Yong ibang inmates hindi na inmates pero nandoon pa sa loob (That’s why they are crammed in the Bilibid. Some inmates are no longer inmates but they are still inside),” he said.
Quoting his sources, Sotto said such activities, including the rackets bared earlier in the Senate’s investigation of the issues in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), are still prevalent inside the NBP.
He said the corruption involves million of pesos, and that BuCor officials earlier tagged in the money-making schemes were just “small fry”.
Despite all the information coming in, however, Sotto said there is still no proof if sacked BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon has a hand in corruption in the agency.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, based on these information that we have been gathering, again, there is no direct link to USec. Faeldon. Ganun talaga, nabubulag sila (That’s how it is, officials are being blinded),” he said.
“Wala siyang masasagot, kaya di na namin tinatanong si Faeldon, eh. Lahat ng nangyayari sa ilalim, ano eh, sobrang bigat (He has no idea, that is why we are not asking Faeldon anymore. All of these are happening because of the men under him. It’s too much),” he added.
The Senate Justice committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, is now drafting its initial report on its investigation on the GCTA mess in the BuCor.
Sotto said the Senate might have to reach the Office of the President and the Ombudsman to address these issues.
“Because what can we do? We can only recommend, we are not a prosecutory body,” he said.