Ragos, one of those who had testified against detained Senator Leila de Lima, told a Senate hearing that the prostitutes were brought inside the prison, where they were “enjoyed” by high-profile prisoners.
READ: 27 BuCor execs sacked over GCTA racket
“Dancers, entertainers, after a while they’d become girlfriends, wives. The rate was P30,000 a night,” Ragos said in Filipino.
But the moment they stepped out of the NBP, these women were kidnapped by policemen who were in cahoots with some of the inmates.
President Rodrigo Duterte said money changed hands in the release of heinous crime convicts through the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law. “Even if it was allowed, corruption was there. Set aside all the legal infirmities [in the law], corruption was [still] present.”
The kidnappers then demanded ransom for the release of the women, and negotiations for their release happened inside the NBP.
Ragos said the lowest ransom paid for a “tilapia” was P200,000, which could go higher depending on the financial capability of the “boyfriend” or “husband.”
Ragos said there were many unusual transactions at the Maximum Security Compound.
He said convicted drug lord Peter Co frequently received female visitors. “Many visited Peter Co, I didn’t know if they were his girlfriends or wife,” he said.
Ragos also said some high-profile inmates would tip police on who to kidnap.
He said the release of these victims, which include wealthy Chinese nationals, is negotiated among inmates and the police.
Gambling, he said, is another way to make money. He said the BuCor directors are being paid up to P800,000 a month to tolerate gambling inside one building that became a virtual casino.
Other money-making schemes included catering, a “welcome gift” to the BuCor director, and the sale of contraband such as wine, cigarettes, cellphones, drugs and even guns.
Jovencio Ablen Jr. of the NBI Counter Terrorism Unit confirmed the revelations made by Ragos. He said the illegal activities in the NBP resulted in P300,000 to P500,000 a week earning for top prison officials.
Like Ragos, Ablen had also testified on the drug charges filed against De Lima, saying he accompanied Ragos in delivering drug money to the senator when she was still Justice secretary.
Earlier, Senator Richard Gordon pressed BuCor Legal Division chief Frederick Anthony Santos about corruption at the NBP, which he initially denied having a knowledge of.
He later admitted that everything has a price. He said there are two types of corruption in the bureau—the petty and the large-scale.
He cited an instance of petty corruption, in which a “keeper,” or an officer who watches over prisoners in shifts, may spot an inmate drinking or using a cell phone, and be given a bribe of at least P500.
He also talked about an “unholy alliances” between prisoners and prison guards that form in the context of what he said was an “intense” code of silence.
Aside from cellphones, he said prison officials also confiscated illegal drugs and other contraband.
NBP Hospital Corrections Technical Chief Inspector Ursicio Cenas denied the existence of a “hospital stay for sale” scheme for inmates, but said some inmates offered money to doctors.
He said it was his patient and accuser, former Valencia City, Bukidnon mayor Jose Galario Jr., who insisted that he take the money as gift.
Cenas, who was convicted of graft, said many factors affect the reason inmates are not discharged immediately from hospital confinement such as lack of resources.
Galario told the Senate hearing that inmates convicted of drug cases stay as long as one month in the hospital under Cenas’ watch in exchange of money.
Meanwhile, the police are investigating the stabbing of a BuCor officer by an inmate in the maximum security compound of the NBP.
SPD spokesperson Supt. Jenny Tecson identified the victim as Insp. Edgardo Ferrer while the suspect was one Wilson Topic.
Earlier reports showed that the suspect was “suffering from schizophrenia.”
It also showed that Ferrer got a “superficial stab wound” on his lower torso.
The stabbing incident was the latest attack involving BuCor officials amid the ongoing Senate investigation of the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance and other irregularities in the agency.
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