As the Senate conducts an investigation into the early release of convicts from the New Bilibid Prison, testimonies of former and current Bureau of Corrections officials bared details on illicit activities convicts engage in behind bars.
The probe, launched by blue ribbon committee chair Richard Gordon, set out to look into the attempted early release of convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez and the controversial Good Conduct and Time Allowance law.
But as each day of the hearing passed, revelations about the activities inside the national penitentiary continue to pile.
Also in attendance are Sen. Francis Pangilinan who heads the Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes Committee, Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa of the Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee and Sen. Sonny Angara of the Finance Committee
Here is a roundup of the illegal acts that reportedly occurred in New Bilibid Prison so far:
Ex-BuCor officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos said high-profile inmates have access to female prostitutes who are referred to as “tilapias.”
“Dancers, entertainers, after a while nagiging girlfriend, asawa. P30,000 (is the rate) magdamag (for overnight stay),” he said in the inquiry.
Ragos added that drug lord Peter Co frequently receives female visitors inside the prison, although he is not sure if they are “girlfriends” or “wives.”
The women who visit the NBP would also reportedly end up as victims of kidnap-for-ransom schemes where money would be arranged among inmates and the police outside the penitentiary.
Ragos shared that most of these women are Chinese nationals who would be exchanged for P200,000 each or more.
“Ang alam ko ang mga involved may mga pulis pa na ka-batch nung mga nakalulong na dating pulis o kaibigan nila, then kini-kidnap ‘yun,” he said.
“Ang negotiation nasa loob for release,” Ragos continued.
BuCor officials and personnel would also reportedly sell hospital passes to inmates who wanted to be transferred to the NBP hospital to avoid jail congestion.
These are usually big-time drug lords and other inmates belonging in the maximum security compound.
They would fake an illness and then buy a “hospital referral official pass” so they could be transferred to the medical facility as a way for them to get out of prison.
A report from GMA News noted, “The ‘fee’ for the hospital referral pass will take care of tampered medical record, which will make it appear that the inmate is sick and should be transferred to a less-congested facility ‘for health reasons.'”
The Department of Justice has already launched an investigation into the matter.
Ragos also mentioned that inmates were also engaged in gambling activities that would reportedly last for 24 hours in a particular building or “kubol.”
“May isang building doon, halos 24 hours ang sugalan nila doon. Marami kasing pera sa loob eh,” he claimed.
Another money-making scheme involves food allowances of inmates, where a portion of it goes to the BuCor officials that could go up to P800,000 a month for each personnel.
Inmates would give money to BuCor officials to have access to contraband such as cellphones, television sets, cigarettes, liquor and drugs in their cells.
They would also hold parties and have “special requests,” all in exchange for money.
Officials would also offer promises of early release to inmates, provided they would pay a certain amount.
She paid P50,000 but her husband told her that other inmates have reportedly paid P300,000 for their early release to be facilitated.