'24-hr gambling, 30k tilapia, kidnapping': Ex-BuCor chief exposes rackets inside Bilibid

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 12 2019 12:24 PM | Updated as of Sep 12 2019 02:19 PM

MANILA - High-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison bribed prison officials so they could enjoy certain privileges while detained such as female entertainers that were worth P30,000 a night, a former chief of the Bureau of Corrections said Thursday. 

“Sa loob ng maximum [security compound], maraming unusual transactions regarding money making,” said Rafael Ragos, who served as BuCor officer-in-charge during the previous administration.

(Inside the maximum security compound there are many unusual money-making transactions.)

Ragos said one of the “money-making ventures” of unscrupulous prison guards include allowing female dancers inside Bilibid to “entertain” high-profile inmates for P30,000 a night. He added some of the women even ended up as girlfriends or even wives of inmates.

"For example, 'yung tilapia nakakapagpasok sila diyan. [Ang tilapia] Babae. Para sa mga high-profile, magpapasok ng babae tapos 'yun ang ginagamit nang mga high-profile. Nag e-enjoy sila sa mga babae," he told Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

“Usually napapalusot ‘yan ng mga guards eh,” he added. 

Ragos admitted there were instances BuCor officials allowed inmates’ request to allow the female entertainers to enter the prison to address the inmates’ “physiological needs.”

He said even foreign female entertainers were being allowed inside the prison for days.

He identified convicted drug lord Peter Co as one of the high-profile inmates who was frequently visited by a female entertainer. 

Another "racket" inside the prison, he said, was the kidnapping of these "wives" of high-profile inmates who had to be ransomed by the convicts. All the transactions are done inside Bilibid, Ragos said. 

The kidnap-for-ransom activities were carried out by cops who were in cahoots with the inmates.

He said inmates also engaged in nearly 24-hour gambling inside the prison, and some corrupt jail officials were also stealing from the inmates’ food budget. Some BuCor personnel also sold cellphones, alcohol and cigarettes to inmates at steep prices, he added.

Ragos said high-profile inmates have made it their tradition to pool in money to be given to a newly-appointed BuCor chief. He said convicted drug lord Amin Boratong attempted to give him a ring worth P600,000 when he got appointed to the post.

Ragos, a witness in the drug case of detained Sen. Leila de Lima, is covered under the witness protection program. The Senate has also given him legislative immunity for his testimony.

Ragos made this revelation as the Senate investigates alleged abuses in the grant of good conduct credits for inmates, which can be used as a ticket to early freedom.