Nazi, soft porn, 'Prison Break' DVDs in maximum security
Congressmen visiting the "kubols" were surprised to see a DVD player
and several discs inside.
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The state of VIPs in the New Bilibid Prison’s (NBP) Maximum Security Compound drew the ire of lawmakers who went on an ocular inspection of the NBP in Muntinlupa City.
Members of the House Justice Committee did an ocular of the buildings in the maximum, medium and minimum security compounds and saw the inequalities and sub-human conditions inside the prisons.
Congressmen Rodolfo Biazon and Elpidio Barzaga lost their temper during the ocular inspection.
Barzaga complained that when they were going around, they found some of the “kubol” or cubicle of inmates in the buildings to be locked.
It took a few minutes before the kubol was opened, and only after the keys to the kubol’s locks were retrieved from the occupying inmates.
The floor and wall tiles of the kubols are distinct from kubol to kubol. Each has its own toilet, exhaust fan
and basic kitchen amenities. Some have their own TV and DVD players aside from pullout beds.
Biazon was also angry because he found a children’s playroom with some toys.
'Like a motel'
|One of the DVDs found was a copy of the popular TV series Prison Break.
Congressman Magtanggol Gunigundo found a DVD stash that included a sexy DVD, some Nazi DVDs and a DVD of the hit TV show about life behind bars, "Prison Break.”
One kubol was full of mirrors, prompting one of the mediamen to quip, “Parang motel ah.”
The temperature inside the buildings with the kubols is very humid.
Some kubols have 2nd floors or are on split levels.
The inmates were lined up outside as lawmakers from the justice committee did an ocular inspection of the place.
The lawmakers were accompanied by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Officials.
Former BuCor chief Ernesto Diokno said the kubols media and lawmakers saw were from Chinese inmates. He said he wanted these kubols dismantled shortly before he resigned.
Lawmakers saw the ocular as an eye opener.
During a preliminary briefing, BuCor officials said that the NBP buildings are on average more than 2x their maximum capacity.
One particular building is at 403% of its capacity.
Figures from the BUCOR say the NBP has 19,334 inmates. That makes for 1:93 prison guard to inmate ratio.
Managed by gangs
Each of the buildings is managed by gangs.
The lawmakers went around the compound under the shade of umbrellas.
The lawmakers likewise toured Antonio Leviste’s infamous kubo in the Minimum Security Compound.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares noted how the management of the prisons lended itself to the congestion by cramping less moneyed inmates in smaller kubols to allow better financed inmates to have more privilege space.
“You're contributing to congestion by unequal distribution of cells,” he said.
De Lima said a probe is ongoing on the alleged drug dealings inside the prison. She assured that appropriate charges will be filed once the facts are ready.
Biazon called for higher salaries for prison guards. He also wants to increase the number of BuCor personnel from the current 2,300-plus to over 23,000 personnel.
This will allow the guard to prison ratio from the current 1:93 to 1: 10, after he noted that the current
prison population is at 36,000 nationwide.
Biazon called for the dismantling of the kubols, an order De Lima promptly gave.
Biazon recalled how he saw the kubol of one Chinese inmate who is a drug lord. “Can you imagine an inmate having control and locking of cells.? Gwardya di makapasok!"
NBP Supt. Ramon Reyes said it’s a practice he just found when he assumed office.
Reyes confirmed his predecessor, Diokno, had already ordered these dismantled, but the place where the affected inmates will be transferred is still due for repair for a month.
Reyes confirmed there is a double standard on who gets to avail of the kubols. Those with resources can avail of those. Those without, can’t,
De Lima promptly ordered the dismantling of the kubols discussed. She also wants NBP officials to come up with an action plan on how to dismantle the rest of the kubols.
Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo asked Reyes to monitor the DVDs and CDs allowed inside as part of the entertainment.
Illegal drugs problem
Inmate Nonito Arele, for his part, told lawmakers that 2-3 weeks ago, they apprehended some illegal drugs. They could not give more details, but Reyes assured that charges have been filed. He was ordered by the committee to furnish them a copy of the charge.
Aside from illegal drugs, another issue that came up was prostitution inside Bilibid. Apparently, sex workers are allowed in.
Few details were given as the lawmakers decided to take it up in executive session.
The committee has decided to do an ocular inspection of all of the country’s penitentiaries.
After the hearing, De Lima was surprised to find out that 3 prison guards were charged for illegal demolition and malicious mischief over the demolition of the kubols in the past. She will look into their cases.
Short, medium, long-term plans
Also, during the hearing, De Lima revealed that the short-term solution for prison congestion which President Aquino is considering is shipping some inmates to the Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan.
The medium-term solution is shipping inmates to other prison facilities nationwide.
The long-term solution is the regionalization of the prisons or the creation of the so-called Bilibid Estate in another location.