Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday said Bureau of Corrections chief Gerard Bantag must be able to resist the temptations of bribery in the national penitentiary, after acknowledging in a TV interview that influential inmates have offered bribes to his subordinates.
“Director General Bantag has personal knowledge of facts on the ground,” Guevarra said. “I am sure that inmates with money will continue to buy convenience, luxury, and freedom to engage in nefarious activities while in detention. So that’s the challenge that Director General Bantag has to overcome.”
In a TV interview, Bantag said among those who have offered bribes to prison officers were convicted drug lords.
On Tuesday, the National Capital Region Police Office said the “quad-intel force” will provide Bantag with the names of BuCor personnel involved in the operations of convicted drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison.
NCRPO director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the names of the BuCor personnel and the NBP inmates are based on the information and intelligence reports obtained by the quad-intel force, composed of the NCRPO, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-NCR, National Bureau of Investigation-NCR and the Joint Task Force-NCR of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
He said the names of inmates on the drug list will also be given to Bantag, who will craft security measures to deny them the opportunity to continuously supervise the operation of their respective syndicates despite being detained at the NBP.
“This is part of the assistance from the Quad-Intel Force to the wide reforms of Director General Bantag at the NBP. If the inmates will continue with their illegal activities at the Bilibid with the help of corrupt personnel, the people, especially residents of Metro Manila will continue to suffer from the prevalence of illegal drugs and crime,” Eleazar said in a statement sent to reporters.
Eleazar, however, did not say how many BuCor personnel and inmates are on the list.
“What matters here is the good coordination and cooperation of every law enforcement agency to end the illegal drug menace in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order,” he said.
The BuCor, under Bantag, is conducting a vetting process of all prison guards and NBP personnel over allegations of massive corruption that enabled drug lords to run their businesses from behind bars.
The NCRPO sent a total of 551 police officers to the NBP to help secure the detention facility as Bantag stripped all the prison guards of duty.
Bantag said they are now subjecting all NBP personnel to validation.
Once the NBP personnel pass the vetting process aimed at getting rid of tainted prison guards, they will undergo a retraining program, Bantag said.
“We will be hiring new recruits,” Bantag told reporters, adding that these recruits will fill in the posts that would be vacated soon by prison guards and personnel who will fail to pass the vetting process.
In a TV interview, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the Special Action Forces commandos that had been assigned to the NBP were not involved in the alleged bribery at the state penitentiary, saying they provided only perimeter security. With PNAREAD: 95% of BuCor corrupt—BantagREAD: 27 BuCor execs sacked over GCTA racket
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