De Lima blames prison congestion in Bilibid drug trade

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2016 12:59 PM

Prison congestion and the lack of appropriate facilities are among the top reasons why drugs continued to plague the New Bilibid Prison during her term as justice secretary, Senator Leila de Lima said Tuesday.

"If we have the right facility, wherein we can really segregate these hardcore criminals, including these drug convicts, provide them with the right facility, that they are segregated from the rest of the inmate population there, they are duly guarded, properly secured, limited access to visitors, no access to communications, then wala dapat nakakalusot," De Lima told ANC's Headstart with Karen Davila.

She admitted however that even after dozens of raids conducted, she "may not have completely stop those criminal enterprises, those illicit criminal acts being conducted [inside the Bilibid]."

But she maintained, she was able to do something, and "did a lot of things to try to put a stop [to it]."

"We had to transfer temporarily the Bilibid 19 to NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] Detention Facility pending the renovation of a facility there, the Building 14, which used to house the death row inmates," she said.

She added, this move earned her several cases and death threats from the drug convicts.

Despite the ongoing drug operations in prison, however, De Lima does not agree with the proposed prison island for drug offenders.

"That would not be consistent with the minimum standards for treatment of prisoners under a UN [United Nations] guideline. There are UN guidelines [on] proper facilities," she said.

She maintained, the "modern facility" in Nueva Ecija "where the segregation or classification of the inmates would be properly implemented" that they have been seeking as the alternative prison center would be better.