MANILA - Elite personnel of the police Special Action Force (SAF) have been deployed to replace jail guards of the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), where irregularities like gun running and the illegal drug trade allegedly remain rampant.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa reminded the elite police force to spurn possible bribes from inmates.
"'Wag kayong magpa-corrupt, 'wag kayong magpapaloko sa baba. Isang report lang na isa sa inyo ay tumanggap ng bribe, kahit piso o kahit isang balot ng candy, that will destroy everything," Dela Rosa said.
At the same time, Dela Rosa assured prisoners of their safety in the hands of SAF commandos.
"Ito pong mga dala namin Special Action Force, sila po'y mga pulis. Hindi sila mga berdugo. Huwag n'yo pong isipin na sila'y pinapunta rito para kayo ay pagpapatayin yung mga tao diyan sa loob," he said.
"Sila po ay andito para gampanan ang trabaho kung saan nagkukulang itong mga ating present na guwardiya."
Over 300 SAF troopers were detailed Wednesday at the NBP on their first day of manning the NBP.
READ: Change coming: PNP SAF to man Bilibid
Prison guards of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), meanwhile, will undergo months of re-training and re-education.
Before the takeover, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered the PNP Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) to search the NBP's Building 14 for contraband items.
Fifty-three inmates, including high-profile drug lords, were temporarily transferred to two buses during the raid.
While Aguirre is confident that the SAF will not be tempted by bribes, he will still order a rotation of personnel every two or three months to avoid familiarity with the prisoners.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently named three alleged drug traffickers, two of whom are detained at the NBP.
He said drug lords were still able to continue with their illegal activities even while inside the state penitentiary.
READ: 'Shabu' ships, prison meth: Duterte hints at massive drug menace