Merging BuCor and BJMP not an option to curb corruption, says DILG official

Published September 25, 2019, 4:36 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Chito Chavez

Proposals to merge the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have been thumbed down citing it is not the best option to curb corruption in the country’s jail facilities at the moment.

DILG undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
DILG undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya in his personal opinion is not sold to the idea about the suggested merger citing differences in orientation and culture between the BuCor and BJMP.

Malaya said that the “culture in the BuCor has been rotten to such an extent it would not be good to merge those two agencies at this time.”

The BuCor is an attached agency of the Department of Justice (DOJ) where convicted inmates are imprisoned.

Meanwhile, the BJMP is an agency under the watch of the DILG which handles the district, city, and municipal jails where persons deprived of liberty (PDL) still facing trial are held.

Malaya said the DILG is proud of the professionalism shown by the BJMP.

The BJMP is currently headed by General Allan Iral who is a well respected officer in the bureau.
Explaining his stand further, Malaya said both agencies implement the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) but stressed the BJMP has never been linked to any scandal or anomalous transactions under this policy.

He noted the BuCor is hounded by the GCTA controversy for many years which cannot be said about the BJMP.

At present, various inquiries that went as far as the Senate were undertaken to look into the anomalies at the BuCor, particularly the “GCTA for sale” racket.

The GCTA is a law that allows the early release of inmates based on good conduct credits.
To recall, the GCTA at the BuCor became controversial after close to 2,000 heinous crime convicts were erroneously freed under this policy.

Malaya also noted that it would be better for newly-designated BuCor Chief Gerald Bantag, formerly a BJMP official, to bring BJMP personnel whom he trusts.

Malaya claimed that it is an “open secret” that any new BuCor chief, once assigned to the New Bilibid Prisons, is at a disadvantage.

Previously, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Aaron Aquino turned down offers to head the BuCor.

Aquino said his meritorious and distinguished 36 years in the police force “would go down the drain’’ if he had accepted the job citing the difficulty of running the BuCor.

Malaya noted that if a new chief with no penal experience or has no knowledge of the culture in the prison system is assigned at the BuCor, he will greatly be at a disadvantage citing that influential and powerful PDL groups virtually run the show.

“It’s not simply about systems. It’s not simply about management. It’s about the culture,’’ Malaya said.

In commending the new appointment, Malaya described Bantag as a respected BJMP officer who is well versed with the penal system with his vast experience.

With his integrity and penal knowhow, Malaya said there is no need for Bantag to adjust too much, insisting others with less sterling credentials and jail experience would be like being in an on-the-job training (OJT) mode.