Police commandos seized more than a million pesos in cash as well as various contraband items inside New Bilibid Prison a week after taking control of the national penitentiary, the Department of Justice said Friday.
Elite SAF takes over Bilibid
In a press conference, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said all NBP jail guards have been replaced by elite Special Action Force commandos amid reports that jail personnel are in cahoots with drug lords inside the prison.
He said SAF seized various contraband items inside the penitentiary including bladed weapons, firearms, cellphones, drugs and TVs.
"Our jails are not havens or sanctuaries for drug lords. That will never be the case during my watch," Aguirre said.
Scene of the Crime Operatives have started forensic exams on 162 cellphones confiscated inside the prison.
The justice chief said raw materials used to make drugs inside the prison can come from many sources. He noted relatives of the prisoners could be bringing in the illegal drugs.
"Visitation rules are very lax. Visitors can go to prisoners' cells," he said.
The SAF, he said, failed to find underground tunnels inside the NBP, which allegedly housed the prison's shabu lab.
Shabu tunnels, 'meth drink': DOJ bares how Bilibid drug trade thrives
Since 2015, the government has tried to suppress irregularities like the narcotics trade and the luxurious lifestyle of high-profile inmates inside the country's largest prison facility.
Numerous raids under Oplan Galugad, however, failed to stem the flow of contraband items at the NBP.