Drug lords get VIP treatment inside Bilibid

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2014 11:34 PM | Updated as of Jun 04 2014 07:40 AM

MANILA -- A police official on Tuesday confirmed that some convicted drug lords receive special treatment inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Chief Insp. Roque Merdegia, Jr., head of Philippine National Police's Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) Legal and Investigation Division, said some prisoners, even those under maximum security, have luxurious lifestyles.

"Napapanahon na nagpa-conduct ng investigation si [Justice Secretary Leima] De Lima para malaman talaga kung bakit napapabalita o patuloy paring nakakapamasyal, o nakakapagpa-check-up umano sa labas ng Bilibid iyung isa sa na-convict na PNP head. Ang aming task force commander ay nalulungkot at nanlulumo sa balita ngunit nagagalak din dahil nga sa gagawing investigation ng Department of Justice," Merdegia told reporters Tuesday.

He said they conducted an investigation inside the NBP and noticed the presence of luxury items like flat screen television sets, air-conditioners, and mobile phones in some cells.

"Actually nung kamakailan, pinasok namin ang National Bilibid Prison at meron tayong convicted drug lord na nakuhanan pa natin sa loob ng shabu at yung nasa report ko yung sa flat wall TV. Totoo yan. Iyung mga aircons, totoo yan. Merong hot and cold shower sa loob, totoo yan."

Merdegia also said that they received reports that some convicted drug lords continue their illegal activities inside the prison.

"Kailan lang, merong mga reports ng remnants ng Boratong na patuloy paring namamayagpag , nagbebenta pa rin at nagpapakalat ng ilegal na droga hindi lang sa Pasig kundi rin sa ibang parte ng Pilipinas."

He said some Chinese drug lords can also operate inside the prison through the use of mobile phones.

"Ang bentahan sa loob base sa nauna nating operation doon yung mga gamit, marami pang nakakapasok doon, pangalawa yung use of cellphone -- malaki ang tulong ng cellphone, gadgets, laptops, tablets sa mga convicted drug lords para lalo pang maipakalat, magamit nila at makapagpatuloy sa kanilang transaksyon sa kanilang negosyo."

Merdegia said he doesn't know how inmates get access to mobile phones.

"Hindi natin malaman kung nagpapadala sila sa mga bisita o sa mga kapwa rin nila inmates," he added.

He said that although there is no available network signal inside prison cells, one convicted drug lord was able to use his mobile phone inside his cell, with his own network connection.

"Yung isang operation naming dun, iyung maximum security, sa cellphone -- wala kaming signal. 'Yung pinasok naming selda, iyung druglord, siya lang ang merong signal. So merong counter jammer sa loob. Lahat ng signal sa maximum security depende sa maximum, jam lahat doon except for that particular cell," Merdegia said.

Although they are aware of these problems, Merdegia said that it is up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the management of the NBP to implement thorough reforms inside the prison.

"Nasa kanila na iyon, tapos na ang trabaho namin, so nasa pamunuan na iyon ng nasa Bilibid Prison, context ng rehabilitation dapat irehabilitate. Lalong they prosper."

Merdegia said they will cooperate with the DOJ if the department needs more information regarding alleged illegal activities inside the NBP.