Lacson says he and Sotto want regional facilities of the New Bilibid Prison

Mico Abarro, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2022 02:32 PM

MANILA - Presidential aspirant Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said Friday he is pushing for the "regionalization" of the New Bilibid Prison to decongest it and avoid riots.

During the KBP "Panata sa Bayan" Presidential Candidates' Forum, the former national police chief said he has been working to decongest the national penitentiary, located in Muntinlupa City, with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, his running mate in this year's elections.

"Bakit ba nagra-riot sa Muntinlupa? Kasi hindi na nadadalaw yung kanilang mga nakakulong na kapamilya," Lacson said. 

Sotto has repeatedly raised the need to regionalize the country's penal colonies in the past, so as to make it easier for prisoners to receive visits from their loved ones. 

In July 2020, he said Malacañang has decided to transfer heinous crime convicts to regional prisons to decongest the national penitentiary.

Lacson's remark came more than two weeks after up to four Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) escaped the national penitentiary. Two of them were killed in an encounter with pursuing authorities, while the other two are believed to still be at large. 

Early last month, a riot broke out at the NBP, leaving three persons PDLs dead and 14 others wounded.

As of December 2021, the NBP, which ideally should only have 6,435 PDLs, has 28,642 inmates, resulting in a 345 percent congestion rate, latest data from the Bureau of Corrections showed.

The bureau's six other facilities outside of Metro Manila have congestion rates ranging from 145 to 448 percent.