MANILA - Two hospitals in Metro Manila will soon open their facilities and health services to sick prisoners of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Franklin Bucayu said the NBP sought the help of the management of Philippine General Hospital and the Las Piñas Perpetual Hospital in ending controversies surrounding the referrals of wealthy but high-risk prisoners to big hospitals.
Under a proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), the two hospitals would accept inmates with serious health problems that could not be attended to by the NBP hospital due to limited capacity.
The MOA is now pending approval by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“With an agreement with these two hospitals, we could be assured of equal treatment and no inmate could abuse their right for medical attention,” said Bucayu, adding that they are also drafting a similar MOA with the Muntinlupa General Hospital.
Bucayu pointed out that the MOA would help prevent rich inmates from abusing “jail out privilege” in the guise of medical emergencies.
“While we want to be strict in granting medical attention, we acknowledge the fact that inmates have the right to be given medical necessary attention. It’s better to be safe than be sorry,” he said.
The NBP came under fire recently after three high-profile inmates were given VIP treatment in first class hospitals in Metro Manila.
Ricardo Camata, a convicted drug lord and leader of the Sigue Sigue Sputnik gang, was admitted to the Metropolitan Hospital in Manila and allegedly received treatment for a lung ailment. However, the inmate appeared to be healthy.
Herbert Colangco was brought to the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Alabang, Muntinlupa and was operated due to a serious prostate problem last May.
Colangco was the alleged leader of a bank robbery gang responsible for a series of robberies in Pampanga, Quezon City, and Parañaque between 2003 and 2005, and is believed to be an ally of the Waray-Waray and Ozamis robbery gangs.
Drug lord Amin Imam Buratong was taken to The Medical City and has undergone angioplasty surgery. Buratong operated the P900-million shabu flea market in Pasig City.
While the DOJ has yet to submit its report on the VIP treatment of the three prisoners, another convicted drug lord, Camad Mamao, was rushed to the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in Quezon City last June 30 also for angioplasty.
Bucayu admitted that rushing high-risk prisoners to big hospitals brought some serious security problems and administrative concerns to the NBP, including the possibility of inmates escaping and other abuses while outside the NBP premises.