Social media users shared humorous banter over the excavation discovered inside the New Bilibid Prison compound in Muntinlupa City.
In an interview with TV5, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Gregorio Catapang Jr. said that 200 meters wide and 30 meters deep pit is located near the Director’s Quarters, the official residence of the prisons bureau chief.
The TV5 news team also spotted a bulldozer and a backhoe.
Catapang said that the excavation, which the TV5 news report described to be as big as a “baseball field,” started in 2019.
The BuCor officer-in-charge alleged that excavation has the blessing of the suspended BuCor chief Gerald Bantag.
Last month, Bantag was suspended in connection to the death of a detainee at the NBP who is said to be one of two “middlemen” in the fatal ambush of radio commentator Percy Lapid or Pecival Mabasa.
Catapang said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources did not give a permit for the excavation project.
He said, “more or less, they were conducting gold hunting in that area,” referring to the former BuCor administration.
How public reacted
Like Catapang, social media users shared similar speculations in jest.
“Baka nandyan ang Tallano gold!” a Facebook user jokingly wrote, referring to the mythical treasure.
“Going to the center of earth…Maraming gold dyan,” a social media user said in jest.
Meanwhile, a social media user suggested that the pit could be for contraband.
“‘Digging for gold?’ Don’t be naive, it could be a tunnel for contraband,” he said.
A Facebook user also quipped that the excavation that seems like a tunnel is heading to the “moon, road trip, broom broom.” The comment was from the lyrics of the hit rap song “Moon” by artists Nik Mano and Flow G.
Others quipped that the excavation could be for a swimming pool.
“Swiming pool yan,” a social media user joked.
Some also compared the pit to the American television series “Prison Break.”
“Aba! Prison Break PH,” an online user quipped, alluding to the American television series about escaping prison.
“Nasobrahan kakapanood ng prison break,” a social media user also jokingly said.
Catapang also noted that the tunnel could be used to escape the prison.
Tunnels inside Bilibid
This was not the first time an excavation or a tunnel has been discovered inside the NBP.
In 2014, a tunnel leading outside the detention facility was discovered by a water firm.
RELATED: Tunnel found in Bilibid
Former NBP Superintendent Roberto Rabo said this tunnel is an old drainage system and not an escape passageway for inmates.
A short tunnel measuring two feet was likewise discovered in 2002. It was found between Iglesia ni Cristo and Seventh-Day Adventist chapels.
Officials said that in 1980, 20 inmates escaped through another tunnel.