MANILA (UPDATE) — Two Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials on Saturday denied they were involved in a scheme in which good-behavior credits for the early release of prisoners could be bought for cash.
A Senate witness on Thursday brought up the names of BuCor Senior Inspector Maribel "Mabel" Bansil and Officer 3 Veronica Buño during a hearing initiated by Sen. Richard Gordon, head of the blue ribbon committee.
Yolanda Camilon, the witness, testified that BuCor officials promised her that her husband would be released in exchange for P50,000.
In an exclusive interview on DZMM, Bansil and Buño said they were not involved in such scheme.
According to Bansil, she does not have access to documents related to convicts' good conduct time allowance (GCTA).
"Wala naman akong kinalaman sa GCTA for sale na iyan. Ang may access sa GCTA, 'yung mga documents sections, 'yung sa MSEC po. Pagdating sa'kin nasa external affairs section kasi ako," Bansil said in an exclusive interview.
Buño added: "Wala kaming kinalaman, wala po talaga kaming access pagdating sa pagbibigay ng GCTA."
'THEY KNOW EACH OTHER'
While Bansil acknowledged knowing Camilon, Bansil denied that she approached Camilon to introduce her to Staff Sergeant Ramoncito "Chito" Roque.
"Nakilala ko siya kasi dalaw kasi namin siya . . . Ang balita daw kasi niya madaling lapitan si Chito Roque," Bansil said.
Being a "public servant," Bansil said she took Camilon to Roque's house inside the BuCor compound.
"Kasi ako public servant naman ako, alam ko naman 'yung bahay ni Chito, harmless naman siya. So in good faith sinamahan ko siya the following day," Bansil told ABS-CBN News.
But during the visit, Bansil said she was shocked upon learning that Roque and Camilon already knew each other.
"Pagbaba pa lang niya, sabi ni Chito, 'O, kumusta Yolly.' So nagulat ako magkakilala naman pala sila."
Bansil said she realized that Roque and Camilon had already been in touch.
"Kung meron man silang transaksiyon, dalawa sila, hindi ko alam dahil wala akong narinig at wala din naman akong nakita. Ang papel na hawak naman ng babae, binigay niya kay Chito Roque, inabot din naman sa kaniya pabalik at dalhin na nga lang daw sa opisina nila," Bansil said.
Bansil and Buño said they decided to come forward to clear their names in the midst of Camilon's accusations.
"Kasi po may mga anak ako, para naman makatulog na ako nang mahimbing," Bansil said.
The two BuCor officials said they will attend the continuation of the Senate hearing on Monday.
— Reports from Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News