MANILA - (UPDATE) A group of Chinese inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa have started to supply drugs both inside and outside the detention facility, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said Wednesday.
The group was not among those previously monitored by the agency, PDEA Intelligence chief Jigger Montallana told the House correctional reforms sub-committee.
Montallana sought a closed-door session with congressmen to give more details on the issue. The subcommittee meanwhile directed PDEA to submit a list of the drug trade newcomers.
Although manufacturing of narcotics is not done inside the state penitentiary, transactions are handled by inmates using mobile phones, Montallana clarified.
Mobile phones continue to proliferate inside the national penitentiary despite security measures implemented by the PNP Special Action Force, Police Chief Supt. Dennis Basngi said.
Basngi, deputy director of the SAF, said a total of 3,666 cellphones have been confiscated. since October 2016.
"...While we implement strictly the policies doon sa entrances we have to admit araw-araw may nakukuha pa ring cellphone from the inside," he said.
Signal jammers in the New Bilibid Prison are also unreliable since most of these are broken, said NBP Supt. Roberto Rabo.
At present, there are 2 signal jammers in the NBP Building 14 under the control of the elite SAF troops. However, signal jammers for the maximum security compound have yet to be procured.
PDEA director Aaron Aquino earlier this month said there were "new players" in the penitentiary's drug trade.
The group, he said, had supplied the drugs that were confiscated in a condominium in Mandaluyong.
The Duterte administration last year said that syndicates based in the country's largest detention facility controlled up to 75 percent of the narcotics supply nationwide.
The PDEA has set up a satellite office in Bilibid to thwart drug activities.
The House panel has asked the Bureau of Corrections to submit a report on its actions to crack down the narcotics trade at the state penitentiary.
-Report from Robert Mano and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News