Change coming: PNP SAF to man Bilibid

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2016 10:36 PM | Updated as of Jul 02 2016 12:45 AM

National Bureau of Investigation agents and prison-trainees carry flat-screen TVs and other confiscated appliances from the prison cells of inmates inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. File photo of ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said that he will deploy the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) soon to man the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and replace all Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) guards.

He said this may just be for a period of at least three months so that they don't overfamiliarize themselves with the convicts, and the Marines may be called to take the place of the SAF thereafter.

President Rodrigo Duterte has branded the New Bilibid Prison very problematic considering that convicted drug lords are still able to continue with their operations even while inside the state penitentiary.

WATCH: Bilibid lifestyle: Drugs, guns, sex, cash

Signal jammers, Wi-Fi gear found inside Bilibid

Aguirre has recommended Marine Major General Alexander Balutan as new BuCor director-general.

He said Balutan's appointment may be made under an emergency power mechanism since Balutan is a military man and the SAF is under the PNP, which may be a sticky issue for the duration of the SAF's stay at the state penitentiary.

Balutan is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1983. He hit the news in the past for defying former President Gloria Arroyo's Executive Order (EO) No. 464 barring government officials and personnel from testifying before congressional inquiries minus her express permission, when in 2005 he and his then superior, Brigadier General Francisco Gudani, appeared before the Senate and spoke, under oath, about alleged cheating in Mindanao in the 2004 presidential elections.

He was court-martialed but the charges against him proscribed in two years even before he was brought to trial.

He also openly posted his sentiments on social media at the height of the "pork barrel" scam, lamenting how the allegedly misused public funds should have been used to address conflict problems in Mindanao and improve the plight of soldiers.

Aguirre also spoke about possibly relocating convicted drug lords from the NBP to other facilities such as Camp Aguinaldo. He said studies will also be made about the feasibility of relocating them and other high-profile criminals to an island Alcatraz-style.

Alcatraz Island. Photo by John A. Martini, courtesy of Alcatraz Cruises

Aguirre also said a donor has come forward to help them secure a P10-million super jammer which will jam the signal and overwhelm boosters being used by drug lords inside the NBI.

RELATED ARTICLE: Signal jammers, Wi-Fi gear found inside Bilibid

He said, still being able to communicate celluar phones is the main reason why the druglords are still able to continue with their trade.