‘Bilibid zoo’? BuCor officials discover horses, gamecocks, pythons inside NBP compound

November 18, 2022 - 1:02 PM
Photo shows BuCor chief Gerald Bantag riding a horse on July 31, 2020 (The Philippine STAR/KJ Rosales)

After a deep excavation was discovered inside the New Bilibid Prison compound, the correctional facility made headlines anew after officials found horses, gamecocks, and pythons at the national penitentiary. 

RELATED: ‘Prison Break, gold hunting?’: Pinoys’ humorous speculations after discovery of tunnel in NBP compound

Fifteen horses, ten game fowls, and three pythons were discovered when BuCor officials were conducting a tree-planting activity inside the compound, based on a report by News5. The pythons were found in the basement of the director’s quarter. 

“Patilikod na ko biglang tumilaok yung mga manok, Ang sabi ko ‘ay may manok din pala dito, nagaalaga pala kayo ng manok, sige nga tingnan ko nga.’ Pagpunta ko e kanya-kanyang kubol yung manok mga panabong pala, Texas,” Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer in charge Gregorio Catapang Jr. said. 

According to an inmate asked by News5, the horses were owned by Bucor spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag and BuCor Gerald Bantag. The latter is under preventive suspension to ensure an impartial probe into the killings inside the national prison concerning the murder of journalist Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa.

RELATED: Who is the slain broadcast journalist Percy Lapid? | Awarding ceremony for Percy Lapid case special task force draws flak

Chaclag and Bantag confirmed that they owned the horses. 

Chaclag said bought some of the horses from former BuCor officials. 

Meanwhile, Bantag revealed that his horses were given to him as a birthday present in 2020.

In the same year, the suspended BuCor chief was seen riding a horse while inspecting the vicinity of the NBP. 

“The horses are used to train BuCor personnel in horseback riding, which is patterned from the [Royal] Canadian Mounted Police,” Bantag claimed. 

How public reacted

This news sparked banters and witty comments from the public who are laughing off the recent discoveries in NBP.

They questioned the existence of these animals inside the NBP. 

“Next [to be] seen arko ni Noah na,” a Facebook user jokingly said. 

A Twitter user also created a meme calling the national penitentiary a “National Bilibid Park.”

“Bakit may zoo?” a social media user asked

“Master scuba diver is also a master veterinarian??” a Twitter user jokingly said

Bantag earlier said that the excavation that was discovered inside the NBP compound was for a “deep swimming pool.” He also bared that he is a scuba diver. 

“It’s a whole circus in this Ph prison,” a Twitter user said.  

“Bilibid beer house, zoo and resort,” a Facebook user quipped, alluding to the 7,500 beer-in-cans seized inside NBP early this month.

“Resort park lang ang peg. May FnB (football and beer), swimming/diving pool, and now a zoo,” a Twitter user said

On Tuesday, November 15, state prosecutors send Bantag a subpoena to appear before the preliminary investigation on the killing of broadcaster Lapid and NBP inmate Jun Villamor.

RELATED: Prosecutors summon Bantag to Lapid-Villamor slay preliminary probe