MANILA - For her quick action on the Philippine prison scandal, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is getting the backing of Senator Vicente Sotto III before the Commission on Appointments.
In a press statement, Sotto said he is backing the confirmation of de Lima before the bicameral CA after the justice chief ordered the relief of New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Chief Supt. Fajardo Lansangan and 12 jail guards over the alleged special treatment being given to high-profile inmates, one of whom even had starlet Krista Miller as a guest in his room at a private hospital.
"I would like to commend Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for her immediate action of relieving the 12 prison guards who were found responsible for the New Bilibid Prison irregularity that involved big-time drug dealers. Her quick action on the incident should serve as example for all public officials and public servants to emulate," he said.
"As a long-time advocate against illegal drugs, I wholeheartedly support Secretary De Lima's move to relieve these 12 prison guards. The public should remain vigilant. With all these, she has my vote in the Commission on Appointments," he added.
The Department of Justice earlier ordered the replacement of Lansangan and 12 prison guards after confirming reports that some convicted drug lords receive special treatment inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
At least three convicts were even allowed to get treatment in private hospitals even without approval from the DOJ.
One convicted drug lord, Ricardo Camata, even got a visit from starlet Krista Miller and two dancers while confined at the Metropolitan Hospital in Manila.
Sotto, a former chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board, said Philippine law enforcers have a hard time monitoring, executing arrests, building up tight cases and putting to jail these criminal elements of society.
He said some law enforcers even put their lives on the line to pursue criminal elements such as drug lords only to see the latter "given special treatment by erring prison guards, most likely in exchange for financial considerations."
"These illegal drug dealers are the worst cancer in our society, for they not only destroy lives but also families, communities and the entire nation as well. Thus anyone who abets, helps, and gives preferential treatment to these drug dealers should suffer the consequences," he said.