Aguirre directs NBI to probe resurgence of prison drug trade

July 5, 2017 - 12:41 AM
The NBI headquarters in Manila. (Philstar file)

MANILA – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday directed the National Bureau of Investigation to probe and conduct case build-up on the reported resurgence of the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons, which Aguirre said earlier now involved a handful of members of the police Special Action Forces (SAF) assigned there months ago to ensure strict security.

The order was issued to NBI Director Dante A. Gierran.

If evidence warrants, Aguirre said the NBI has the authority to file the appropriate administrative and criminal cases against those responsible.

Gierran was required also to submit a report to the Office of the Secretary of Justice on NBI activities in carrying out the order.

“We wanted to get to the bottom of the reported resurgence of the drug trade in the NBP. We acted after verifying raw information provided by concerned individuals. I have said it before and I will say it again, we shall be relentless in fighting and eradicating the drug menace,” Aguirre said.

Meanwhile, there were reports that many of the SAF members deployed to the national penitentiary are seeking transfer, dismayed by Aguirre’s revelation about some SAF men also being corrupted by the syndicates that once allowed the drug trade to flourish there.

Aguirre said Monday they were checking the information he received about the involvement of SAF men, whose deployment at NBP had exceeded the deadline set earlier of three months for each detail. He surmised that their staying there for a long time might have made some SAF members vulnerable to temptation.

Aguirre added that they were contemplating on replacing the SAF detail at NBP with Marines, but because of the siege of Marawi, the Marines had to be deployed to the south.