De Lima wants iron-fisted BuCor chief

By Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Nov 20 2012 11:12 AM | Updated as of Nov 21 2012 12:58 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday said Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Manuel Co may be replaced soon in order to give way for a deeper probe into the grenade blast inside the New Bilibid Prison last Friday.

De Lima said she may have to replace Co, also the current chief of the Parole and Probation Administration (PPA), with someone who can focus on fixing the problems in the state penitentiary.

"In fairness naman kay Manuel Co, 'di ko sya inaalis dahil may kapabayaan siya diyan sa nangyari. It is just that I think nakikita ko sa kanya, hindi siya masyadong maka-focus as OIC of BuCor, dahil meron naman siyang isang ahensya. I need someone na mas makaka-focus," de Lima told ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda".

"Kailangan actually ng medyo may pagka-iron fist na titignan ang kung anong mga measures ang pwedeng ilagay, lalo ang pag-contain at neutralize ng mga gang commanders."

Co was designated as OIC of BuCor after Gaudencio Pangilinan went on indefinite leave at the height of the Rolito Go abduction scandal.

Go went missing inside the New Bilibid Prison's premises last August 14. He reappeared more than 24 hours later and said he was kidnapped inside the prison.

Pangilinan was also accused of violating bidding regulations, overspending funds, and giving special treatment to some wealthy inmates.

De Lima said she hopes to meet with President Aquino soon to discuss if Pangilinan will be retained as BuCor chief.

De Lima's announcement of plans to replace Co comes on the heels of the placing on floating status of four top NBP officials yesterday.

Aside from the top officials, all of the prison guards at the maximum security compound, where the explosion occurred, have also been placed on floating status.