Bucor chief to continue with efforts despite death threats

Published November 12, 2019, 2:47 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Joseph Almer Pedrajas 

Bureau of Corrections chief Director General Gerald Bantag disclosed that he has been receiving death threats following their continuous efforts to confiscate contrabands items and demolish illegal shanties inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Bureau of Corrections (MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview with reporters, Bantag confirmed that he has been receiving threats against his life but said that he “just does not mind them.”

“Di ko nalang iniintindi. Baka isipin [ko] pa. ‘Wag [ko] na lang isipin,” he said.

The BuCor chief also bared that most of the newly installed officers inside the national penitentiary already have “prices on their heads.”

“Ayaw ko nang magbanggit [kung magkano ang presyo sakin],” he said, “Katapat na lang natin dito buhay.”

“Pero di rin naman ititigil ang government. Marami namang may ayaw sa illegal na droga. Marami pa ring papalit [sa pwesto] ‘pag wala na kami,” he added.

The threats came after the newly installed BuCor head, who assumed office in September, started his crackdown on corruption and contraband items and ordered the demolition of illegal shanties inside the NBP.

On Monday, thousands of contrabands, which were recovered inside the penitentiary since Oct. 9, were destroyed. The items, when sold inside the NBP, had a total value of at least P10 million.

Recovered items, according to BuCor, included a total of 4,629 tobaccos, 20,016 hand rolled tobaccos, 291 cigarette sticks, 1,634 cellular phones, 297 cellphone chargers, 53 cellphone batteries, 512 bladed weapons, 12 bottles of moonshine liquors, four laptops, and several others.

Based on intelligence reports, Bantag said that keypad phones could be sold for P40,000 each, while smart phones could be sold for as much as P200,000.

“These were the reason why [drug lords] could still have drug transactions outside,” Bantag said, adding that mobile phones were also the root of corruption inside the penitentiary.

In fact, he bared, a National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) officer was recently offered P200,000 by a Chinese drug lord for his mobile phone.

“Lahat, ino-offeran. Kaya nga kung ‘di ka magreresist, ‘di ka matibay d’yan, wala na,” he said.

Meanwhile, tobaccos could be sold for at least P4,000 per roll, while a liter of alcohol could be sold for P10,000 each.

During Monday’s flag ceremony, Bantag also said that he “felt like he has been at the BuCor for two years now.”

“Nababagalan ako sa pagbabago, sa totoo lang,” he said, adding that his goal now is to “professionalize” the new correctional officers.