The excavation at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) compound in Muntinlupa City was not intended to be “an escape tunnel.”
“That was supposed to be a hunt for Yamashita treasure originally. I was told by Director General Bantag (suspended Bureau of Corrections Director General Gerald Q. Bantag) and I told him to stop it,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla on Friday, Nov. 18.
Wikipedia says the Yamashita treasure “was believed to be part of war loot that was left behind in World War II by Japanese Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita in the Philippines.”
The excavation at the NBP reservation was disclosed by BuCor Officer-in-Charge Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr. who said the tunnel has a depth of 30 meters with a width of about 300 meters and it leads to where the headquarters of the director general is located.
However, Catapang did not answer a question on whether the tunnel in the excavation was intended as “escape route.”
In his comment on Catapang’s revelation, Bantag said the excavation was done to build a diving pool for underwater rescue training by BuCor personnel who are also tapped during disasters and calamities.
“Sinabi niya sa akin sometime before August or September (Bantag told me about the excavation sometime before August or September),” Remulla recounted.
“He opened it up to me and I told him ‘wag mo na gawin ‘yan (stop it),” he said.
He described the purpose of the excavation as “ridiculous.”
“You are there not to seek for treasure. You are there to run the corrections department,” Remulla said he told Bantag.
He said he has no idea if Bantag found anything.
“Tsaka you are wasting government time and money. Hindi ko alam kung government time and money ginamit niya pero ridiculous para sa akin (Besides, you are wasting government time and money. I don’t know if government time and money was spent but that it is ridiculous for me,” he said.
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