MANILA - More cellular phones, Wi-Fi gadgets, and phone chargers were confiscated from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention facility during a surprise raid headed by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on Sunday.
The raid was conducted at the regular NBI detention facility, which houses personalities facing trial in various courts, such as Coco Rasuman and former Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co -- both of whom are implicated in separate pyramid scams.
De Lima said the information came from an informant.
"We conducted a surprise inspection. I was there because I got a tip few days ago na meron mga cellphones doon sa NBI regular detention facility... On the strength of that tip we went there. I was assisted by the counter-intelligence division of the NBI. And lo and behold! Positive yung info. So both doon sa detention room 1 and detention room 2, may mga nakuha kaming cellphones, chargers, Wi-Fi, etc.
"Yung tip ko kasi, doon daw sa may washing machine. It’s positive. Several cellphones including IPhones nakuha talaga namin doon sa ilalim ng washing machine and several others... marami-raming cellphones yung nakita namin kahapon," De Lima said.
The justice chief has ordered an investigation into the matter, and has ordered the temporary relief of NBI personnel guarding the facility and those who come in contact with the inmates.
"I will immediately ask [NBI Director Virgilio Mendez] to relieve them from their respective assignments in relation to the detention facility, kung sinuman mga in-charge doon. Imposible na nakakapasok yan na hindi alam ng nagbabantay. They are supposed to be frisking, inspecting all visitors.
"Kung honest-to-goodness yung kanilang pagfi-frisk, dapat nalalaman nila yan na may pinapapasok na cellphones. So iimbestigahan na rin yan -- sino na naman sangkot dyan? Sino mga gwardya o yung mga offcials o personnel, the ones having supervision over the NBI detention facility?" De Lima said.
Just last week, the NBI detention facility became controversial because of the discovery of cellular phones, Wi-Fi gadgets, and chargers inside the detention cell of some members of the "Bilibid 19", high-profile convicts transferred from the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) to the NBI.
A probe is also underway to investigate the illegal entry of the prohibited items inside their cell.