BuCor builds another wall in Bilibid after residents tore down the first one

Published November 27, 2021, 3:31 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Saturday built another wall on a road leading to a Department of Justice (DOJ) housing project inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Bgy. Poblacion, Muntinlupa.

This was after residents tore down the first one that it erected on Friday night.

The new wall built by BuCor on Saturday on a road leading to the DOJ’s Katarungan Village 1 and 2 in the New Bilibid Prison Reservation in Bgy. Poblacion, Muntinlupa (Photo courtesys of Shielo Veloso)

On Nov. 26, BuCor erected a concrete wall on a road that served as a main access point to the city proper of residents of the DOJ Katarungan Village 1 and 2 housing projects, and students and teachers of Muntinlupa National High School-Main and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa, which are adjacent to the village.

The first wall built that was torn down by residents (Contributed photo, Leandro Ong)

In a text message to Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said, “Cong. Ruffy, I have been informed about it. The DOJ has not received any prior notice about this action on the part of the BuCor.”

“I have strongly recommended to DG Bantag [BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag] to stop any further action on the wall/bridge until we have sat down to discuss it (the DOJ exercises supervision only over the BuCor). I have also reported the matter to ES Medialdea [Executive Sec. Salvador Medialdea]. We will keep you posted on further developments,” added Guevarra.

Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, in a statement, said BuCor did not get a permit and did not coordinate with the city government before building the wall leading to the Katarungan Village.

“Napakaraming residente ang mawawalan ng daan papunta sa bayan dahil sa ginawa nilang harang. Mawawalan din ng access pati mga guro at mag-aaral ng Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa at Muntinlupa National High School,” the mayor said.

He added, “Kagabi ay agad na nagpunta sa binakurang lugar si Congressman Ruffy Biazon, City Administrator Allan Cachuela at Department Heads ng Pamahalaang Lungsod, pati na rin si Kap. Allen Ampaya at mga kagawad ng Brgy. Poblacion, para kausapin ang pamunuan ng Bucor. Pinatitigil ang pagtatayo ng pader dahil kahit aplikasyon sa fencing permit ay hindi naman kumuha ang BuCor. Iligal ang inilagay nilang harang. Hindi nakinig ang BuCor sa paulit-ulit na paliwanag. Matapos ang ilang oras, mismong mga residente ang gumawa ng hakbang upang alisin ang harang.”

The Muntinlupa City Council held a special session on Saturday to discuss the issue and pass a resolution.

Last March, BuCor, citing security reasons, built a wall on the Insular Prison Road in NBP closing the main access point of the residents of the government’s Southville 3 housing project to the city proper.

Biazon sent a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte but Malacañang referred the letter to the DOJ, which told Biazon that under Republic Act 10575, or the BuCor Modernization Law, BuCor has the “absolute authority” in the supervision of lands it owns.

He filed a resolution with the House of Representatives, which held a committee hearing about the issue.

In building a wall on the Insular Prison Road, Bantag said part of the safekeeping of prisoners “is security which ensures that inmates are completely incapacitated from further committing criminal acts, and have been totally cut off from their criminal networks (or contact in the free society).”

“Security also includes protection against illegal organized armed groups which have the capacity of launching an attack on any prison camp of the national penitentiary to rescue their convicted comrade or forcibly amass firearms issued to Corrections Officers,” he added.

He said allowing the use of the Insular Prison Road “puts the safety and well-being of the public in danger. It is a wrong public policy to continue a dangerous practice of letting the public pass through the middle of a supposedly high security risk prison compound.”