MANILA - The killing of a Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) official tasked to handle inmate records could be linked to the controversy involving the good conduct time allowance for prisoners, Sen. Richard Gordon said Monday.
Witness Yolanda Camilon earlier said she encountered Ruperto Traya Jr., a chief administrative officer 3 at the BuCor's inmate document processing division, during the time she was following up on the early release of her partner Godfrey Gamboa.
Traya was killed on August 27.
Traya had worked with Staff Sergeant Ramoncito Roque, who heads the BuCor’s documents division and was tagged by Camilon as one of the BuCor officials who asked money from her in exchange for Gamboa’s release.
Gordon quizzed Roque for appearing nonchalant over Traya’s death.
“You didn’t even care to ask if he had an enemy?” Gordon asked Roque.
Gordon then recalled Camilon’s testimony during last Thursday’s hearing where she quoted another BuCor personnel, Correctional Senior Inspector Maria Belinda Bansil, as saying that Traya had death threats and would die soon.
“Kung ipagdidikit-dikit ko iyan, at iyan ang gagawin namin, parang may kaugnayan itong lahat sa hingian d'yan sa ilalim,” Gordon said.
(If I will put the pieces of the puzzle, and that’s what we’ll do, it seems that this was related to the corruption in BuCor.)
National Bureau of Investigation chief Dante Gierran told the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that his agency has already launched an investigation to establish a possible link between the GCTA controversy and Traya's killing, considering that the slay occurred around the time the issue made the news.
Roque, Bansil, and a third BuCor personnel, Corrections Officer 3 Veronica Buño, have all denied Camilon’s allegations that they offered to tweak Santos’ good conduct time allowance, which would allow his early release, for P50,000.
A 2013 law expanding the GCTA for prisoners recently came under scrutiny following reports that it could benefit Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna convicted in 1990's rape-murder case that was among the most followed in the country.
The Senate inquiry has since went on to tackle various anomalies allegedly involving BuCor officials.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Panfilo Lacson said witnesses have also surfaced to testify that hospital passes and several other prison benefits were being sold at the NBP.
Sotto said some BuCor officials and personnel were also involved in the so-called “tanim-kaso” scheme at the national penitentiary where inmates due for release are asked to pay in exchange for the dismissal of fabricated charges.