MANILA - Former national police chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Sunday paid a surprise visit to the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa on Saturday, 2 days before he assumes leadership of the Bureau of Corrections.
Dela Rosa said he wanted to check reports that high profile convicted drug lords were kept inside the medium security compound.
“May mga balita kaso na nandoon yung mga high profile na drug lords, na doon nilipat. Sabi naman sa akin wala na doon, nasa Building 14,” he said.
(There are reports that the high-profile drug lords were transferred there. But I was also told, they were not there, but in Building 14.)
“Pero tingnan ko pa 'yan officially sa Monday, klaruhin ko, kung wala nga doon,” he added.
(I will verify that officially on Monday, I'll clarify if they indeed aren't there.)
Dela Rosa said it is not good for high profile drug lords to interact with other inmates.
“Mas delikado na mailipat sila sa medium. Magkakaroon sila ng mga bata-bata, sidekick, mga alalay, at ma-transfer nila ang technology at trade secret," he explained.
(It is more dangerous if they are moved to the medium security compound. They will have sidekicks, underlings, and they will be able to transfer their technology and trade secret.)
The new BuCor director also went to the Reclassification Diagnostic Center of Bilibid, where 1,700 new convicts are placed before they are classified.
“From there, i-classify sila kung medium, maximum o minimum. Galing from all over the Philippines na convict, kinausap ko sila. Pareho lang kaming baguhan doon sa Bilibid, kaya magpapakabait kami pareho. Kakosa ko sila. Mga ka-batch ko,” Dela Rosa said.
(From there, they will be classified as medium, maximum or minimum security inmates. They are convicts from all over the Philippines, I talked with them. We are all new in Bilibid so we must behave. They are my batch mates.)
Dela Rosa also said he spoke with some elderly inmates who asked if they can be sent home.
“Palakpakan sila, tuwang-tuwa. Nakausap ko lang yung madadaanan ko lang. Mga matatanda na mga 60 plus years old na, ang kanilang request ay kung pupuwede na silang makauwi,” he said.
(They clapped, they were happy. I talked to those whom I passed by. They were 60 years old, their request was to go home if they can.)
Dela Rosa also said he appealed for the cooperation of his new charges.
“Kahit mga convict sila sinasabi ko na hindi lahat kayo masasamang tao, marami pa ring mababait sa inyo. Sabi ko nga mag-ayos lang kayo at magtutulungan tayo, gaganda ang takbo ng buhay natin dito sa loob,” he said.
"Kapag nakakita sila ng a little glimmer of hope from you, malaking bagay na sa kanila at tuwang-tuwa."
(I told them that even if you are convicts, not all of you are evil, many of you are still good. Just behave and let's cooperate, our lives here will get better. If they see even a little glimmer of hope from you, that is already a big thing for them and they were vey happy.)
He also said he will find a way to make the wall near the maximum security compound restricted to people amid reports that this is where contraband items are sneaked into the compound.
On his first day of office, Dela Rosa will lead a flag raising ceremony and a command conference before inspecting Bilibid facilities.
“Yung building 14, puntahan ko ang mga high profile, sila naman ang kakausapin ko,” he said.
(At Building 14, I will go to the high-profile inmates and talk with them.)